30 September 2014

That’s not how it works – Buying Redemption

Greetings Dear Reader,

Buying one’s way out of trouble is common in our culture for those who can afford to do so.  Most people find this offensive.  One should not be able to avoid the consequences of wrong doing simply because one can pay money to avoid it.

In a just world we would all be under the same law and the same consequences for violating that law.  Because humans are flawed and fallen that is not how it works.  Justice is an ideal but not a common way of life.

This also leads to thinking that we can buy our way out of the debt we owe God.  We all owe him the penalty of judgment for our sin.  God is a just judge and will not violate his own justice.  Even though he longs to forgive us there must be satisfaction for both justice and love for there to be righteousness. 

This is the purpose that Jesus fulfilled.  He paid the price for our judgment by his death.  Redemption comes through faith in that arrangement.  Those who would have redemption cannot purchase it.  It has already been purchased and we paid for the party with our dearest blood. 

The way it works is by faith alone.  We accept the gift already purchased for us and we receive it.  We become heirs to all that God has in store for us by the acceptance of this gift.  This is the only way it works.   

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

29 September 2014

That’s not how it works – It is all Ice Cream

Greetings Dear Reader,

I love ice cream.  I do not like anything chunky in my ice cream. I have a friend for whom ice creams is just the canvas on which she paints with chocolate chips,  nuts, fruit, and anything else that she can acquire. 

Ice cream comes in so many flavors that if one likes ice cream one can find a favorite.  It is an exercise in futility to argue over flavors of ice cream.  No matter what one puts into his or her ice cream if it possess certain things it is still ice cream.

Over the years the church has developed many denominations.  Some divisions are for good reasons and many not for such good reasons.  We argue and hate over the basics of following and practice.  The real problem is when we  think our flavor of following is the only one that is ice cream.

As long as the basics are there faith is faith.  I have covered those basics before and will not belabor them here.  There are some clear benchmarks of a Christ follower.  One of them is that we are to love each other.  We are to worship in spirit and in truth.  We are to be kind and gentle with everyone. 

Dividing over practice is not how it works.  Whenever we do that we think is worship from the heart we do well.  When we begin to tell others that is the only way worship we do not do well.  We violate the very thing that makes it all work.

Christ has room for infinite diversity in his followers.  Those followers need to be about the basics of following.  We need to agree that no matter what our preferred flavor of following is if we are living out the core of the gospel we can make it work.

I need to be about loving others.  Caring for those in need is essential.  I can prefer loud worship to classic.  I can enjoy my prayer private and public as long as it is genuine.  The way it works is that my heart must belong to Christ.  I must follow him.  That is how it works.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

28 September 2014

That’s not how it works – Hamster Wheels

Greetings Dear Reader,

As a child I remember trying to do things to earn the positive attention of teachers, parents, and other adults that mattered to me.  In many cases these efforts failed.  Sometimes they did not.

On the occasions that I could earn that favor I felt significant.  When I failed to do so I felt alone and neglected.  As a child I could not see that sometimes adults needed to attend to other things. 

The problem for me was that earning and keeping that favor was a hamster wheel journey.  I would run and run but not truly get anywhere.  I would experience the ups and downs of acceptance and rejection.  Some of those experiences were quite damaging. 

That is not how it works with God.  In the same manner that we cannot disappoint God because already knows everything we will ever do, we cannot earn his favor.  He loves us freely.  He accepts us with every flaw and fault offering us a way to journey to him. 

Our very best is nothing compared to God.  Our good deeds do not give us points with him.  It is grace that gives access to God.  It is his love and mercy that allow us to receive favor unconditionally. 

I must not measure the good I do as something to merit positive acceptance from God.  I must do good because of his love for me.  I must do what is right for the right reasons.  I follow out of love.  That is how it works.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

27 September 2014

A Pause to Reflect at a Drive-in Movie

Greetings Dear Reader,

We will rejoin my pondering concerning “That’s not how it works” on the morrow.  Today I am reflecting on some things that are vital to the next steps in my journey.  Sometimes when I travel this happens to me. 

Last night I went to a drive in theatre for the first time in over thirty years.  The experience was much different than I remember.  What impacted me most was that this place was has weathered the decades by changing with times.  Gone are the hanging speakers.  We now use a radio to hear the audio.  Gone are the dozens of cars listening to said audio and creating a unique echo effect.

The price was reasonable.  It was still a double feature.  The screen was small compared to what one expects.  The concession was intriguing in its offering of really bad late night drive in food.  The help was rude and unhelpful. 

The experience was still rich.  It triggered so many memories and thoughts about how things change as we journey.  What took me further down the path was the simplicity of watching a movie under the naked stars on a cool autumn evening.

The big dipper hung out my driver side window.   I saw a couple of shooting stars.  I relaxed and enjoyed a moving about a dolphin.  The beauty of it reminded me just how many blessings are in my life.  For that I am surly thankful.


Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

26 September 2014

That’s not how it works – No Cabbage Please

Greetings Dear Reader,

What seems like a lifetime ago, when my Sister was five and I was seven we were eating dinner with my Nana.  We were having a cool summer dinner and I was anxious to get to the radio and listen to the Braves play. 

I remember that my Nana made amazing coleslaw.  I think my enjoyment of it is rooted in the enjoyment of her coleslaw.  I would consume as much of it as allowed and I judge all coleslaw by hers. 

My Sister was picking at hers eating the apples out of it but avoiding almost everything else.  My Nana asked her if she did not like it.  My Sister’s response, “Oh I like it alright but it would be better without the cabbage.”

We laughed about this for years. To those who do not know what coleslaw is (as my blog is read by people in many countries); its primary ingredient is cabbage.  One cannot make real coleslaw without cabbage.

It seems that Christ followers are much like my Sister in that moment.  We want the Gospel but without well the Gospel.  We cannot pick and choose what ingredients of following Christ we want in our faith.  Christ demands all of us and that we accept all of him.

I cannot leave out part of the Gospel and think that I have the truth.  I cannot fail to love, obey, sacrifice, give, forgive, or any other things Christ demands of me.  No matter what has been done to me I must be the example of love and acceptance.  I must give up my rights and wants for the sake of the Gospel.

Christ has my needs in his hands.  He is there in every moment waiting to meet them without me placing demands on anyone else.  That is how it works.  Anything else is coleslaw without cabbage – it does not exist.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

25 September 2014

That’s not how it works – Disappointing God

Greetings Dear Reader,

Every year for over a decade it has been my joy to hold a Christmas open house for my family and friends.  I anticipate this in a way that makes me exuberant and energized.   Four or five years ago I awakened the day of the open house with a severe fever and other symptoms of the flu. 

I had to cancel the open house and spent a week feeling physically ill and emotionally disappointed.  During my recovery I pondered what I had missed.  The source of my disappointment was the lost opportunity to share time with people I love.  Lost opportunities often lead to disappointment.

I have often heard well-meaning people talk about the ways in which we disappoint God.  That’s not how it works.  If God already knows everything, which he does, then he cannot anticipate an event that does not happen.  He sees time from end to end.  There is no moment of which he is not already aware in infinite detail.

What this means is that one cannot disappoint God.  Since God already knows everything I am going to do I cannot fail to do what he expects.  Therefore, I cannot disappoint him. 

I can still do wrong.  I will still fail.  I still sin.  The joy is that God already anticipated it and has made a way for me to still move toward him.  The joy is that he is never disappointed in me.  The failure that is not mine is that of meeting his expectations.

He knows the choices I will make.  He knows my thoughts and feelings before I experience them.  He understands every decision, step, and turn or my journey.  He is never surprised and always prepared to help guide me home.  That is how it works.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

24 September 2014

That's Not How it Works - First Thoughs

Greetings Dear Reader,

Recently there have been ads for Esurance, an online insurance company that depict people not getting how social media works. I find them less tedious than I do most television ads.  My favorite is the one where the mum is playing Candy Crush on a dining room table using a hammer.

In many areas of my life I encounter people who are sure they know how things work but are sadly mistaken.  I recently had someone insist that a computer program functioned a certain way to perform a specific task.  When I disagreed the individual became angry.  Even after showing her what the creator of the program had to say about the issue she insisted that it worked differently.

This is so similar to how I feel people think God works.  I do not claim to understand many things about God.  What I do know is that those who loudly dishonor my faith do not understand who God is and how he works with humans, his creation. 

Misunderstanding God is so common.  I have encountered it since I began my journey of faith.  For my own review and for the sake of thinking through what I believe I am going to spend some time parsing what little I know about how God works.  Feel free to walk with me.  I think the discussion could be of value to us both.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

23 September 2014

New Tires

Greetings Dear Reader,

Recently my new used car required that I obtain new tires.  I do not mind this as it is a necessary part of owning dependable transportation.  I am fortunate to have a vendor for tires that is speedy and less expensive than most. 

As I was obtaining said tires I had a conversation with an elderly lady who was also in need of new tires.  She was talking about how nice it was that her tires has lasted five years and the lady at the counter still remembered her. 

The lady then began to comment on how nice it was to have new tires.  You drive away feeling the difference immediately.  Your car feels newer in some ways.  I agreed and smiled.  She then shifted gears slightly mentioning how gradually the tires lose their tread and dependability.

I realized that I had often thought about this in relation to tires.  She shifted gears again.  She explained who we do the same thing in life.  We allow bad habits to wear away at us.  We allow things that are wrong to become commonplace.  We grind away at our souls the way the road slowly grinds away at our tires.

Then to my delight she turned the conversation toward Jesus and our need for hm.  She was sharing the Gospel with me using new tires as the bridge.  I smiled at her and explained that I was a Christ follower.  I also thanked her for being brave enough to attempt to show me Jesus.

She is right about the tires and the correlation to sin.  We do allow things to wear away at our spirits without realizing how bad they are.  We let sin grind away at us without seeing our need for Christ. 

The illustration continues.  In short time my new tires were mounted and balanced.  I bid my farewells to June and thanked her for her kindness.  As I drove away from the tire place I felt the newness of the road and tire interaction.  The car responded better to curves and I sensed the improved state of things.

When I abandon sin for following Christ more closely the feeling for me is the same.  I feel more secure, dependable, and renewed.  The sin grinds away at us but Christ is always there ready to renew and restore us; restore me.

Restored – Pat Terry

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

22 September 2014

The Walking Dead – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

As the new season of The Walking Dead approaches I find that I am intrigued to see the other parallels it will draw for me.  Our heroes are in a tight spot.  The situation is more grim than usual.  A way out seems difficult.

Whilst they attempt to find a place of security and safety they have instead found deeper danger.  As we have, however, there is always danger.  Death is always lurking for them awaiting a drop in vigilance.

So much about life is pushing back the lurking death.  Whether it is a desert tent or city penthouse the fight against death, the fight for life is the same.  We strive against the elements, the need for food, and time to survive.  We work, some harder than others, to provide for basic needs.  Some can afford luxuries. 

We war and barter over resources.  We buy, sell, trade and steal for gain.  We do almost anything to keep away the specter that haunts us constantly.  We owe a death.  It is a debt that will be paid and we have no control over when it will come due.

All that I can do is follow the path given me.  Christ calls me to have faith in him.  He pays my debt and assures met that death is not the end.  He offers hope and solace.  He offers peace and provision.  All he asks of me is that I follow.

If I follow I must give up my life.  Then again, it is not mine to hold.  He asks me to give up that which I cannot hold to gain that which I cannot lose.  It seems simple enough.  Like the walking dead I follow the sound of life drawn toward it by the internal force that makes me hunger for 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."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

21 September 2014

The Walking Dead – The Death of Death

Greetings Dear Reader,

Our friends have not found the cure they seek.  They still live daily under the specter of impending doom.  Every day is a struggle to get to the next day.  It is not even survival.  It is simply prolonging the inevitable.

We also owe a death.  We are unable to avoid it.  Nothing about our lives does not involved death.  We live in a death based ecosystem.  To grow food seeds must die.  We kill for meat.  The annual cycle of life is death and rebirth. 

We were never intended for death.  We were intended for life.  We created death when we disobeyed God.  We are in debt for both the sin and the life.  We cannot solve the problem without help. 

Christ makes the journey for us.  He pays the debt of sin by accepting death.  He becomes incarnate knowing that he is the walking dead.  Through his death and resurrection he defeats death.

I only have hope in Christ.  His death and resurrection give me life.  It is only by faith in this that I can live.  I cannot cheat physical death but I can 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."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 September 2014

The Walking Dead – Perspective

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the events on The Walking Dead is the birth of a new baby into the community.  An entirely new level care and protection is demanded.  There are also new dangers.  Babies are not quiet or still when you wish them to be so.

As I write this today my two year old Grandson, Bastion sits on my lap watching Mater’s Tall Tales.  He is innocent and kind.  The world has not yet tarnished his spirit.  He points out things in my writing office that fascinate him. 

What occupies my thoughts today is how I push back the darkness and death so it does not steal his innocence too soon.  How do I be the light he needs to see the escape, the cure to the walking death we all share?

I am not going to pretend to know the answers.  I am not going to avoid the truth that eventually my death will impact him.  All that I can do is be faithful and follow Christ in a way that draws him along the path as well.  It must be the light of Christ that draws him.  I am, after all the walking dead,  without the grace and light of Christ I can only infect him.

The perspective for me is that he and his brother are prime movers in my quest to be loving and selfless.  They push me toward patience and humility.  They motivate me to be the best example I can be for them. 

We are all the walking dead.  Some of us less infected than others.  All headed toward the same end.  I will never force them on path.  Hopefully they will be drawn through love and example.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

19 September 2014

The Walking Dead – No Peace from the Fight

Greetings Dear Reader,

The Walking Dead has not peace from the fight.  There has been little in the way of respite in the battle to survive and avoid being eaten.  The danger is always there lurking on the edges of even the most beautiful moments.  Even when the Zombies seem to be at bay baser nature of men seems to get in the way.

Charters rise up in the story to challenge the peace and safety our heroes attempt to forge.  No matter how much ground they gain the wolf is always at the door in some form.  Waking or sleeping there is always something lurking to devour them whether figuratively or literally.

It is the same for us as we try to navigate the dying world.  Death, evil, and enemies never rest.  There is not lasting peace.  The lurkers both seen and unseen wait to devour us the moment our guard is down.  I am not paranoid.  I am honest.  The fight against the darkness and death is a constant one. 

If I am to survive I must keep moving.  I must constantly follow Christ and be vigilant of the growing dangers in a darkening world.  I must try to make things better whilst knowing they will get worse.  I must fight for right and truth even if it costs my life.  The walking dead must keep walking in order to live.  So must those who follow Christ.

It is not easy but it is true.

No Rusty Swords – Michael Card

Don't you know the battle's raging
And you got to join the fight
There's an army of the darkness
And an army of the Light
There's a side that fights for Satan
And a side that's for the Lord
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords

Christ has made the final move
So our side is sure to win
He became like us so we would have
A chance to be like Him
It seems strange so many fall back
When the victory has been won
You just need to ask yourself
Which side you're on

Don't you know the battle's raging
And you got to join the fight
There's an army of the darkness
And an army of the Light
There's a side that fights for Satan
And a side that's for the Lord
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords

There's a fact you need to understand
Before you join our side
You need to know when Jesus calls
He bids you come and die
He's invaded Satan's kingdom
And He's claiming all His own
When the battle's over
He will lead us home

Don't you know the battle's raging
And you got to join the fight
There's an army of the darkness
And an army of the Light
There's a side that fights for Satan
And a side that's for the Lord
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords
And on this battle field there are no rusty swords

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

18 September 2014

The Walking Dead – The Cure

Greetings Dear Reader,

For those who have not caught up on The Walking Dead I am trying to limit the spoilers that I spin into this writing.  However, it should be obvious to the passive reader that one of the things those afflicted with the disease would seek is a cure.  Our weary walkers are no different.  They talk about and chase rumors of a cure. 

What does a cure to a Zombie virus look like?  What is necessary to eradicate the condition that our travelers have contracted?  This is the ultimate race against time for each of them.  Living in constant danger forces them to always seek and defend at the same time.  Pockets of humanity may promise peace and safety.  Rumors of safety and a cure drive them in directions they may not wish to travel.

They seek safe harbor and a cure.  Both are necessary.  Both are elusive.  The cure is a final solution.  Any safe harbor before that is only temporary.  Again the parallel to the true human condition is obvious.  We constantly seek a cure for death.  We do not accept that it is inevitable and beyond our control. 

We get so caught up in the survival mode of life that we forget to live it whilst we have it.  There is a cure for death but those who know it often represent it poorly.  Those who claim to know the cure will often misuse it.  The end of physical existence is not the end of all life.  Those who follow Christ know this but do not always live it.

I must not talk about the cure until I show that I am cured.  I must not offer hope that I do not live.  I must not point the way to a cure that I have not embraced with my whole being.  After all I am truly asking anyone with whom I share my belief to bet everything on that belief.  If I am not willing to live it every day then I have no right to speak.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

17 September 2014

The Walking Dead – The Z Word

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things of note in The Walking Dead is the absence of the word “Zombie.”  They have many names for the dead who are walking around trying to eat them.  Terms of endearment such as walkers, biters, and skin eaters are common.  They are also called roamers, meat puppets, and lurkers.

That last term gives me a chill as it is the name I gave years ago to a particularly terrifying monster that has haunted my nightmares since I was very young.  Whatever you call the creatures that are reanimated dead bodies the show avoids the word “Zombie” like a plague.

In my mind this amounts to a form of denial.  Although the sum of the characters’ lives make is clear that they are living the reality of a Zombie Apocalypse they do not use the one word that describes it.  We use so many euphemisms for things we want to avoid.  It is not just death that we avoid using.  We double speak and mislabel things in order to sound less on the mark about things that are unpleasant.

We change the terms to things to avoid the implications of more blunt terms.  I remember a time when you did not say “cancer” but rather referred to it as “the c”.  We have replaced the term “layoff” with “reduction in force” to make it sound less like we are putting people out of work.  We lack the courage to call a thing what it is.

We have invented many terms for death to avoid saying that someone is dead.  He “passed away”, “moved on”, or “went to glory” are a few that immediately leap to mind.  We should soften the blow as much as possible when informing someone of a death.  We must not lessen the impact of our state as a fallen race.

We are condemned to die.  We cannot avoid it or control it.  No matter how we choose to say it, we are dying daily.  We owe a debt that we will be called to pay.  We need to learn to speak of it openly and not deny its impending call.

I must live every day with the knowledge that I have less time than I did yesterday.  This must move me to use that time wisely.  It is my duty as a Christ follower to see the sand dropping through the hour glass and count every grain as precious.  I must redeem the time as much as possible to assure that I find Christ in each moment.  Someday I will die.  What matters is that I lived well.   


Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

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

16 September 2014

Second Thoughts – taH pagh taHbe (To be or not to be)

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.

My dear friend, Donald Williams, provided a twist to the 10 Books challenge winding its way through social media in recent days.  He lists ten of his most influential poems.  I thought that I would do the same.  Where possible I have provided a link to the poem.  I will list them as they come to mind:

The Touch of the Master’s Hand – Myra Brooks Welch



The Betrothed – Rudyard Kipling

Abdul Abulbul Amir – Percy French

The Answer – Rudyard Kipling

The Female of the Species – Rudyard Kipling

Jabberwocky – Lewis Carroll

Standing Between the Living and the Dead – Jack Hyles

The Clock of Life – Robert H. Smith

Jesu – George Herbert

Please enjoy and of course I treasure your thoughts.

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 Walking Dead – All Dead in Here

Greetings Dear Reader,

A recent article I read spoke of the advances made in life expectancy for humans.  The article predicted that the cap seems to be about 120 years.  It is written in our DNA.  Odd that this was told to Noah by God at least five thousand years ago. 

In the Walking Dead the fight for life so closely mirrors the way in which we struggle against death.  The Zombies are always at the door.  They are constantly seeking to take the living.

The thing is that we constantly look for ways to prolong life and cheat death.  We do not accept that in this form we are already dead.  Every human has a physical expiration date.  I do not take this lightly.  I have felt the pain and loss of death.  I have written a novel about him.

Yes I said him.  Death is at least a specter in all our minds.  He is there to keep us honest and remind us that we are not free.  We can fight and scream against the end of life but it is there.  It is grim to some and another part of the journey to others.

Until we see that we are all dead we have no hope of seeing that God turns that death into a fighting chance to live.  We cannot get perspective until we accept the truth.  I must live as if I am dead already and seek a way to have life.  I must know that I owe that death of my own accord and not avoid the debt.  I must also embrace that it does not end there.  There is a chance 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." ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

15 September 2014

The Walking Dead – We Brought it on Ourselves

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the show one of the thing that is pondered is how the virus came to be in existence.  There is not too much time spent on the past because survival demands that the characters live in the now. 

As humans we tend to disbelieve the consequences that do not happen immediately.  The warning of the dangers of smoking is met with denial and rejection.  We do things that are unhealthy and dangerous believing that we will be the exception and not the rule.  We do the same with God’s rules for the world.  It is the fault of man that there is death to begin with.  The plague we carry inside us is that of the cost of sin.

We deny, rage, and malign God.  As a new wave of atheism sweeps the educated world, those who use the name of “god” to hate rise up in force.  Failure to follow God’s laws result in the acceptance of things that are clearly wrong.  So we die a little every day until we can live no more. 

My failure to obey God is not different from Adam’s or Cain’s.  My impending death is my own fault.  I cannot deny it and I cannot avoid it.  God, however, is not satisfied with condition we have created for humanity.  Since the price of our disobedience is death he assigns us the just penalty for it.  He also chooses to use death to redeem us from death. 

In The Walking Dead our main characters fight and claw to make it through each day.  They look for hope and now consider that there may be a cure.  We will get to the cure where God turns death into a fighting chance to live.  First we must accept out current condition.  It is only in seeing my culpability for my sin that I have any ground over which to reach a potential cure.

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 September 2014

The Walking Dead – Not About Zombies

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is important to understand that The Walking Dead is not a story about Zombies.  It is a story about the human condition.  Rick Grimes, the main character is trying to turn death into to fighting chance to live.  The world around him is constantly trying to devour him and his efforts.

Death is the backdrop of the story. It is the thing that drives the characters. Every dark space, every unknown, and every day holds the potential for terror and death.  The constant in the chaos is death.  That is the horror of it.

It is the same for us.  Every human owes a death.  We think we can control it.  Even ending our own life is outside of our control.  It is God who holds the choice for every one of us.  It is the sword hanging over all of our heads.  As the walking dead we are condemned to pay this debt. 

When God chooses, I will face a physical death.  Baring an accident or sudden event I likely know what will kill me.  I have to choose to live whilst I am dying.  I must follow Christ with all that I am so that as I journey toward the grave my journey matters.  It is not what I have or leave behind physically that matters. 

What matters is that I journey through this dead and dying world offering opportunities for life.  That will come soon enough.  For now we need to accept that we are on a path that does pass through death.

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 September 2014

The Walking Dead – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Most of my family enjoys the hit AMC series The Walking Dead.  If you have not yet found the show based on the graphic novel you should give it a go.  I find the writing and production to be of the highest quality. 

Those unfamiliar with the show would think the title refers to the Zombies.  It does not.  In the world of The Walking Dead the title refers to the living.   They all carry the virus that turns them into Zombies.  No matter how they die as long is the brain is not violated they come back to animation.

Every one of those who have survived thus far are under the same condemnation.  Without some kind of cure they will become the other kind of walking dead.  All of this is so close to the true human condition.  Over the next couple of days I wish to ponder the parallel.  Walk with me if you wish.

Blackbird’s Song – Lee DeWyze

Pack your things, leave somehow.
Blackbird song is over now.
Mouths are dry.
River runs, hands are tied.
Preacher's son,
pack your things, leave somehow.
Blackbird song is over now.
Don't be scared
I'm still here.
No more time for crying tears.

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 September 2014

Am I Enough – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize our time walking with Job has been a long one.  For me it has been worth it.  Pain and loss are still coursing their way through my family.  The sorrow in my eldest Son’s eyes is so deep I am at a loss of how to describe it.  As we leave Job for a time I will take some real lessons with me.

Job accomplished all he did without the benefit of some very valuable things.  He had not Bible.  He did not have the thousands of years of recorded examples of those who follow in faith.  Of great advantage for me is that I have Job as an example.  As I said at the beginning, I consider him a friend and long to meet him at the end of the path.

I also need to remember that even when his “friends” thundered at him to confess to sin of which he was not guilty he maintained his faith.  He knew where he stood with God and owned it.  He did not allow circumstances to determine or define how he related to the Father.  Eventually it was out of the thunder that Job’s “friends” were scolded by God and Job vindicated.

I would have loved to have been there in the moment where God does finally tell him why all this happened.  I am sure that he would have willingly taken on all of it to be an example to us all.  I hope that so many take their example from Job.

God asks us all the same question.  He plumbs the depth of our being and wants us to answer the same.  God’s asks all of us.  He will be satisfied with nothing less.  God knows what is best for me and so he asks the question every moment of every day. 

When the pain, loss, and suffering rain down around me and around those I love he asks the question.  When the sun shines brightly on fresh snow and I am filled with joy he asks the question.  When I lay in the cool if the evening in my hammock the question is there.  When I sit here trying to spin out my thoughts, questions, and stories he questions me again.

No matter what the circumstance God asks me every moment, “AM I enough?” 

My only hope of finding the way through the pain and sorrow is a single word.  My only chance to find the depth of joy in the journey is that same answer.  Whether things are sunny and clear or the storm rages around me threatening all that I have and ever will have the answer must be a confident, resounding, and eternal “YES.”

Job Suite – Michael Card

Blameless and upright, a fearer of God
A man truly righteous, no pious façade
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 you, 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 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 giver 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 hear 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 the earth on the day he arrives
And though my body by then is no more
Yet in my flesh I know I'll see the Lord

Who is it who darkens my council
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 afraid?
Where were you when earth's foundations were laid?

Who gave the heart it's wisdom?
The mind it's 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 council?
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 September 2014

Second Thoughts – Another Memorial Day

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.

Another Memorial Day
By Aramis Thorn

Remember, remember eleven September
The terrorist, towers, and flights
Remember, remember eleven September
First responders who died in the fight

Remember, remember eleven September

How Flight 19 passengers fought
I see no reason eleven September
Should ever be forgot

Remember, remember eleven September
The moment the Pentagon Burned
Remember, remember that every ember
Was a terrible lesson to learn

Remember, remember eleven September
The thousands who died as we watched
If we fail to remember eleven September
We might well have died as have not

Remember, remember eleven September
When hate challenged liberty’s might
I see no reason eleven September
Should ever wane from our sight
  
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."

Am I Enough – Vindicated by God

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are moments when I am so thankful I am not someone else.  In this passage being one of Job’s friends is not a very good thing.  The Storm is speaking and Job responds with humility.  God’s instruction is simply for Job to pray for his friends.

I am amazed that Job has such a deep capacity for forgiveness.  Where were all the friends mentioned here during Job’s suffering?  Yet it is clear that Job accepts them back as family.  It is also clear that God restores much to Job.  His wife who told him to “curse God and die,” had to deliver ten more babies.

Dori: Job Restored bu God
Job becomes wealthy again.  He lives another 140 years and is prosperous.  Still the loss is there in his past.  The suffering and the pain linger.  Job, however, shows no bitterness or resentment.  I do not think he forgot about his lost children and servants.  I do not think there were not nights were he felt the pain of their absence. 

I do not think this is a guarantee that God will make us rich after suffering.  I think that it is a promise that eventually God will make all things right.  God is just.  He knows that we suffer and he cares about it.  Even when we are falsely accused God is there.  Even when he is silent and the storm rages around us he is still there. 

It was not planned that I reach the last chapter of Job today.  All around our nation we recognize a painful memorial day of sorts.  God is always present even when buildings fall to the hatred of terrorists.  There is no moment so publicly tragic in my life.  I remember where I was and what I was doing.  In that storm of airplanes, metal, and fire God was enough if we allowed him to be enough.  Those who killed in his name, like Job’s friends, were wrong about him.

When we do what is right God does not abandon us.  Even when those around us speak unkindly of the good we do God is there for us.  My inability to see him does not signify absence.  It marks the opportunity to have deeper faith.  All of creation is there to remind me that God is there.  He is in control. I matter to him even when I cannot understand why things are happening.  He longs for me to know that he 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."

Job 42:1-17
Then Job answered the LORD, 
(2)  "I know that you can do everything and that your plans are unstoppable.  (3)  "You said, 'Who is this that belittles my advice without having any knowledge about it?' Yes, I have stated things I didn't understand, things too mysterious for me to know.  (4)  "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak. I will ask you, and you will teach me.'  (5)  I had heard about you with my own ears, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.  (6) That is why I take back what I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show that I am sorry." 
(7)  After the LORD had said those things to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz from Teman, "I'm very angry with you and your two friends because you didn't speak what is right about me as my servant Job has done.  (8)  So take seven young bulls and seven rams. Go to my servant Job, and make a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you. Then I will accept his prayer not to treat you as godless fools. After all, you didn't speak what is right about me as my servant Job has done." 
(9)  Then Eliphaz of Teman, Bildad of Shuah, and Zophar of Naama went and did what the LORD had told them to do. And the LORD accepted Job's prayer.  (10)  After Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored Job's prosperity and gave him twice as much as he had before.  (11)  Then all his brothers and sisters and everyone who had previously known him came to him. They ate with him at his house, sympathized with him, and comforted him for all the evil the LORD had brought to him. Each one gave him some money and a gold ring. 

(12)  The LORD blessed the latter years of Job's life more than the earlier years. He had 14,000 sheep and goats, 6,000 camels, 2,000 oxen, and 1,000 donkeys.  (13)  He also had seven sons and three daughters.  (14)  He named the first daughter Jemimah, the second Cassia, and the third Keren Happuch.  (15)  Nowhere in the whole country could be found women who were as beautiful as Job's daughters. Their father gave them and their brothers an inheritance.  (16)  Job lived 140 years after this. He saw his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  (17)  Then at a very old age, Job died.

10 September 2014

Am I Enough – Oh Yes, I Promised You Dragons

Greetings Dear Reader,

Before we walk through this part of Job’s story we must remember a few things.  The primary one is that God is describing real things in creation in order to demonstrate his power.  Whatever God is describing here is real.

Second we must consider that every major culture in the ancient world has a dragon of some kind in its narratives.  The ancient Chinese, Australian aboriginal, Egyptian, Babylonian, Welsh, Nordic, Mayan, and North American aboriginal cultures all have stories of dragons. 

So now let us consider the creature that God is describing to Job as a living symbol of God’s power:

  • The creature is massive
  • It has large spiky scales on its back
  • No weapons contemporary to Job are useful against it
  • It has glowing eyes
  • The creature instills fear in the bravest of men
  • It can fly
  • It breaths fire


Considering all of this and the narratives of the ancient world I conclude that dragons are or a least were real.  They are so real that the living God uses them as an example of his power.  Leviathan is an example of the magnitude of God’s power over creation.  God explains that if man cannot stand in front of Leviathan, whom God has complete power over then how can man stand before God?

Get the picture in your mind.  The God of the universe is speaking to Job from a storm.  He is describing one of the most fearsome things in creation.  He claims power over it.  He places the entire situation in perspective.  Then he drives home his question.  He wants to know from Job in light of all that Job has seen, “Am I enough?” 

If Satan sifts you like wheat “Am I enough?” 
If you lose all your possessions and stature, “Am I enough?” 
If your children die in a tragic moment “Am I enough?” 
If your friends falsely accuse you in your moment of need, “Am I enough?”
If your wife loses faith in God and tells you to die, “Am I enough?” 
If I am silent whilst you go through all of this, “Am I enough?” 
Stand up like a man Job and tell me, “Am I enough?” 

It is in the moment of this question that I must live every moment.  It is in the answer that I find my life’s worth.  It is in the crucible of pain and suffering that I must carry the answer that is the only truth there is.  God is enough if I allow him to be enough.  He is enough anyway but for reasons I cannot understand gives me free will.

I have betrayed and been betrayed.  I have cause loss and suffered loss.  I have walked through the death of a child. I have been abandoned by friends in my time of need.  I have seen those I love in pain and been in pain so deep I wished to die.  If I am honest then I must say that in every moment the question from God is the same: “Am I enough?” 

Any answer from me but “YES” is a lie.  Now I must live the yes.

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."

Job 41:1-34 
"Can you pull Leviathan out of the water with a fishhook or tie its tongue down with a rope?  (2)  Can you put a ring through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook?  (3)  Will it plead with you for mercy or speak tenderly to you?  (4)  Will it make an agreement with you so that you can take it as your permanent slave?  (5)  Can you play with it like a bird or keep it on a leash for your girls?  (6)  Will traders bargain over it and divide it among the merchants?  (7)  Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears?  (8)  Lay your hand on it. Think of the struggle! Don't do it again!  (9)  Certainly, any hope of defeating it is a false hope. Doesn't the sight of it overwhelm you?  (10)  No one is brave enough to provoke Leviathan. Then who can stand in front of me?  (11)  Who can confront me that I should repay him? Everything under heaven belongs to me! 
(12)  "I will not be silent about Leviathan's limbs, its strength, or its graceful form.  (13)  Who can skin its hide? Who can approach it with a harness?  (14)  Who can open its closed mouth? Its teeth are surrounded by terror.  (15)  Its back has rows of scales that are tightly sealed.  (16)  One is so close to the other that there is no space between them.  (17)  Each is joined to the other. They are locked together and inseparable.  (18)  When Leviathan sneezes, it gives out a flash of light. Its eyes are like the first rays of the dawn.  (19)  Flames shoot from its mouth. Sparks of fire fly from it.  (20)  Smoke comes from its nostrils like a boiling pot heated over brushwood.  (21)  Its breath sets coals on fire, and a flame pours from its mouth.  (22)  Strength resides in its neck, and power dances in front of it.  (23)  The folds of its flesh stick to each other. They are solid and cannot be moved.  (24)  Its chest is solid like a rock, solid like a millstone. 
(25)  "The mighty are afraid when Leviathan rises. Broken down, they draw back.  (26)  A sword may strike it but not pierce it. Neither will a spear, lance, or dart.  (27)  It considers iron to be like straw and bronze to be like rotten wood.  (28)  An arrow won't make it run away. Stones from a sling turn to dust against it.  (29)  It considers clubs to be like stubble, and it laughs at a rattling javelin.  (30)  Its underside is like sharp pieces of broken pottery. It stretches out like a threshing sledge on the mud.  (31)  It makes the deep sea boil like a pot. It stirs up the ocean like a boiling kettle.  (32)  It leaves a shining path behind it so that the sea appears to have silvery hair.  (33)  Nothing on land can compare to it. It was made fearless.  (34)  It looks down on all high things. It is king of everyone who is arrogant."

09 September 2014

Am I Enough – Will you Judge God?

Greetings Dear Reader,

As God reaches the end of his explanation of his power he reminds Job that he asked Job to instruct him if he could.  He then asks a further question.  He asks Job if he can judge God.

I feel the passage makes it so clear that what God is asking is can Job save himself.  Can Job end his own captivity?  Can he end his own suffering?  Can he redeem his own soul?  Can he sit in judgment on God?

God assures Job that he can crush the wicked if he wishes.  He reminds Job that if Job can do all that God asks then Job is worthy of praise from God.  Remember that all of this happens whilst God is speaking out of a storm.

I wonder how often I judge God without even thinking about it.  All that Job has asked God is why.  Job is wise enough not to pursue it any further but I know that I do not always do the same.  It never wrong to ask God questions.  It is always necessary to do out of a place of faith and respect. 

God does not need to prove himself to anyone.  He simply is.  He wants to be enough for me.  He wants me to accept by faith that he is good, loving, and kind.  He wants me to be the same way with others so that he can show his love to them through me.  He wants me to see that he 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."

Job 40:1-24 
The LORD responded to Job, 
(2)  "Will the person who finds fault with the Almighty correct him? Will the person who argues with God answer him?" 
(3)  Job answered the LORD, (4) "I'm so insignificant. How can I answer you? I will put my hand over my mouth.  (5) I spoke once, but I can't answer- twice, but not again." 
(6)  Then the LORD responded to Job out of a storm, (7) "Brace yourself like a man! I will ask you, and you will teach me.  (8)  "Would you undo my justice? Would you condemn me so that you can be righteous?  (9)  Do you have power like God's? Can you thunder with a voice like his?  (10)  Then dress yourself in majesty and dignity. Clothe yourself in splendor and glory.  (11)  Unleash your outbursts of anger. Look at all who are arrogant, and put them down.  (12)  Look at all who are arrogant, and humble them. Crush wicked people wherever they are.  (13)  Hide them completely in the dust, and cover their faces in the hidden place.  (14)  Then even I will praise you because your right hand can save you. 

(15)  "Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you. It eats grass as cattle do.  (16)  Look at the strength in its back muscles, the power in its stomach muscles.  (17)  It makes its tail stiff like a cedar. The ligaments of its thighs are intertwined.  (18)  Its bones are bronze tubes. They are like iron bars.  (19)  Behemoth is the first of God's conquests. Its maker approaches it with his sword.  (20)  The hills bring it food, and all the wild animals play there.  (21)  It lies down under the lotus plants in a hiding place among reeds and swamps.  (22)  Lotus plants provide it with cover. Poplars by the stream surround it.  (23)  Though the river flows powerfully against it, it's not alarmed. It's confident even when the Jordan rushes against its mouth.  (24)  Can anyone blind its eyes or pierce its nose with snares?