31 August 2014

Am I Enough – Innocence and Acceptance

Greetings Dear Reader,

Job is about to complete his response.  He is almost at the end of his defense.  He catalogs all the areas in which those who claim to love God are to act.  If we want to measure Job’s life then we must look at this list. 
  • Job does not lust after young women
  • He acknowledges that God sees all that he does
  • He is honest
  • He has stayed on the narrow path of obedience
  • He is faithful to his wife
  • He is good to his servants
  • He cares for the poor
  • He understands that he is to love God and not money
  • He loves his enemies
  • He is hospitable
  • He does not try to hide his sin

 Job has no Bible.  He has no church or pastor.  He has no ten commandments.  He does not have anything that sets out the rules for being a “good Christian.”  What he does have is a heart that seeks God at every turn.  Everything about his life is accountable to God.  He asks his friends to show evidence of his sin and abandon their false assumptions.

When I look at this list it challenges me to have a life above reproach.  It shows me where I struggle and what I must to do follow Christ more closely.  I want my heart to burn for God like Job’s does.  I want to be good and honorable.  I want to be faithful and consistent. 

It is in doing these things that we evidence to others that our faith is real.  God and see what is in my heart but people need to see me act. 

Job has another “friend” who is about to speak.  He will be long winded and again in error. As we turn the corner from Job’s defense of his life to that of others taking over the story I am reminded of the fact that I must have an apologia for my life.  I must be ready to give an account for my actions, belief, and hope.

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 31:1-40 
"I have made an agreement with my eyes. Then how can I look with lust at a virgin?  (2)  What would God above do to me? What would be my inheritance from the Almighty on high?  (3)  Aren't there catastrophes for wicked people and disasters for those who do wrong?  (4)  Doesn't he see my ways and count all my steps? 
(5)  "If I have walked with lies or my feet have run after deception,  (6)  then let God weigh me on honest scales, and he will know I have integrity. 
(7)  "If my steps have left the proper path, or my heart has followed the desire of my eyes, or my hands are stained with sin,  (8)  then let someone else eat what I have planted, and let my crops be uprooted. 
(9)  "If I have been seduced by a woman or I have secretly waited near my neighbor's door, (10) then let my wife grind for another man, and let other men kneel over her.  (11)  That would be a scandal, and that would be a criminal offense.  (12)  It would be a fire that burns even in Abaddon. It would uproot my entire harvest. 
(13)  "If I have abused the rights of my servants, male or female, when they have disagreed with me,  (14)  then what could I do if God rises up? If he examines me, how could I answer him?  (15)  Didn't he who made me in my mother's belly make them? Didn't the same God form us in the womb? 
(16)  "If I have refused the requests of the poor or made a widow's eyes stop looking for help, (17) or have eaten my food alone without letting the orphan eat any of it....  (18)  (From my youth the orphan grew up with me as though I were his father, and from my birth I treated the widow kindly.)  (19)  If I have seen anyone die because he had no clothes or a poor person going naked....  (20)  (If his body didn't bless me, or the wool from my sheep didn't keep him warm....)  (21)  If I have shaken my fist at an orphan because I knew that others would back me up in court,  (22)  then let my shoulder fall out of its socket, and let my arm be broken at the elbow. 
(23)  "A disaster from God terrifies me. In the presence of his majesty I can do nothing. 
(24)  "If I put my confidence in gold or said to fine gold, 'I trust you'....  (25)  If I enjoyed being very rich because my hand had found great wealth....  (26)  If I saw the light shine or the moon move along in its splendor  (27)  so that my heart was secretly tempted, and I threw them a kiss with my hand,  (28)  then that, too, would be a criminal offense, and I would have denied God above. 
(29)  "If I enjoyed the ruin of my enemy or celebrated when harm came to him (30) (even though I didn't speak sinfully by calling down a curse on his life).... 
(31)  "If the people who were in my tent had said, 'We wish we had never filled our stomachs with his food'....  (32)  (The visitor never spent the night outside, because I opened my door to the traveler.) 
(33)  "If I have covered my disobedience like Adam and kept my sin to myself,  (34)  because I dreaded the large, noisy crowd and because the contempt of the local mobs terrified me so that I kept quiet and didn't go outside.... 
(35)  "If only I had someone who would listen to me! Look, here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me. Let the prosecutor write his complaint on a scroll.  (36)  I would certainly carry it on my shoulder and place it on my head like a crown.  (37)  I would tell him the number of my steps and approach him like a prince. 
(38)  "If my land has cried out against me, and its furrows have wept ....  (39) If I have eaten its produce without paying for it and made its owners breathe their last, (40) then let it grow thistles instead of wheat, and foul-smelling weeds instead of barley."

 This is the end of Job's words.

30 August 2014

Am I Enough – Tabloid Treatment

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is so easy to see in current society how quickly we turn on those who lead us when there is a hint of scandal.  Even our top news agencies deal in gossip and speculation about the latest ill repute.  It no longer matters what is true.  Public perception becomes truth and we feast on the flesh of the fallen.

Job is in the 3000 BC equivalent of the tabloid news.  He recounts how everyone reviles him and counts him low.  He has been tried and convicted via rumor and speculation.  His “friends” have allowed this and not defended him.  Job, however, is innocent and righteous.

I must never engage in this on any level.  If I am to follow Christ with my entire heart then I cannot speculate, gossip, or inquire about the wrong doing of others.  I must observe and evaluate.  I must communicate in love.  I cannot judge and condemn.  It is not my place.

Viva La Vida – Cold Play

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing,
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become

Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh, who would ever wanna be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

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 30:1-31
“But now those who are younger than I am laugh at me. I didn't think their fathers were fit to sit with the dogs of my flock.  (2)  Of what use to me was the strength of their hands? Their strength is gone.  (3)  Shriveled up from need and hunger, they gnaw at the dry and barren ground during the night.  (4)  They pick saltwort from the underbrush, and the roots of the broom plant are their food.  (5)  They are driven from the community. People shout at them in the same way they shout at thieves.  (6)  They have to live in dry riverbeds, in holes in the ground, and among rocks.  (7)  They howl in bushes and huddle together under thorn bushes.  (8) Godless fools and worthless people are forced out of the land with whips.” 
(9)  "And now they make fun of me with songs. I have become a joke to them.  (10)  Since they consider me disgusting, they keep their distance from me and don't hesitate to spit in my face.  (11)  Because God has untied my cord and has made me suffer, they are no longer restrained in my presence.  (12)  They have attacked me on my right side like a mob. They trip my feet and then prepare ways to destroy me.  (13)  Yes, they remove all traces of my path in order to destroy me. No one is there to help me against them.  (14)  They come through a wide hole in the wall. They crawl through the ruins.  (15)  Terrors are directed toward me. They blow away my dignity like the wind. My prosperity vanishes like a cloud.” 
(16)  "Now my life is pouring out of me. Days of suffering seize me.  (17)  At night God pierces my bones. My body doesn't rest.  (18)  With great strength he grabs my clothes. He seizes me by the collar of my robe.  (19) He throws me into the dirt so that I become like dust and ashes.” 
(20)  "I call to you for help, but you don't answer me. I stand up, but you just look at me.  (21)  You have begun to treat me cruelly. With your mighty hand you assault me.  (22)  You pick me up and let the wind carry me away. You toss me around with a storm.  (23) I know you will lead me to death, to the dwelling place appointed for all living beings.”

(24)  "But God doesn't stretch out his hand against one who is ruined when that person calls for help in his disaster.  (25)  Didn't I cry for the person whose days were difficult? Didn't my soul grieve for the poor?  (26)  When I waited for good, evil came. When I looked for light, darkness came.  (27)  My insides are churning and won't calm down. Days of misery are ahead of me.  (28)  I walk in the dark without the sun. I stand up in public and call for help.  (29)  I'm a brother to jackals and a companion of ostriches.  (30)  My skin turns dark and peels. My body burns with fever.  (31)  So my lyre is used for mourning and my flute for loud weeping.”

29 August 2014

Am I Enough – Morning His Loss

Greetings Dear Reader,

This is the chapter where I desired to be Job’s friend.  This is the moment where I forever fixed my desire to meet this man and show him love and kindness.  As he wearies of his friends’ accusations he turns his attention to speaking of what he has lost.  It is that attention that wrote a deep love for Job on my heart.

In the midst of all that he has lost he morns the loss of his ability to be helpful to others.  He speaks of the things he valued about his youth and all of them sound so much like the very things that Christ commands of us.  He is morning the good he could do to those less fortunate than him.

Job speaks of his care for the poor and sick.  He morns the loss of his ability to help others find justice.  In the center of his grief and loss he feels deeply how others have needs that he cannot meet. 

I saw my eldest Son, Maxim live this out recently.  He is embroiled in deep sorrow and loss that is beyond his control.  I see the pain in his eyes constantly.  I also saw him set it aside when his neighbor fell direly ill and had needs.  My Son is still in pain.  He also saw a way to help others in the midst of that pain.

This is what Christ wishes of us.  This is how I must be toward others.  When I am able I must work toward aid and justice for others.  When I cannot help it should move me to a sense of mourning.  I think that those who do not know Christ or accept him need to see those who do truly emulate Job here. 

There are words that speak volumes as they translate into action.  I think that others can see Christ much more clearly through these words and I need to speak them and mean as often as possible.  It is not a sermon or lecture.  It is not quoting my beloved Bible to them.  All of these have a place and are good. 

The words I need to speak that will translate to “I love you and God loves you” are very simple.  When I see a need in others and live out these words they can be all that needs to be said for Christ to be clearly seen.  I need to say, mean, and act on one simple question as often as possible.  I need to live in the question: “How can I help?”

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 29:1-25 
Job continued his poems and said, 
(2)  "If only my life could be like it used to be, in the days when God watched over me,  (3)  when he made his lamp shine on my head, when I walked through the dark in his light.  (4)  If only I were in the prime of my life again, when God was an adviser in my tent.  (5)  When the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, (6) my steps were bathed in buttermilk, and the rocks poured streams of olive oil on me.  (7)  When I went through the city gate and took my seat in the town square, (8) young men saw me and kept out of sight. Old men stood up straight out of respect for me.  (9)  Princes held back their words and put their hands over their mouths.  (10)  The voices of nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths. 
(11)  "Any ears that heard me blessed me. Any eyes that saw me spoke well of me, (12) because I rescued the poor who called for help and the orphans who had no one to help them.  (13)  I received a blessing from the dying. I made the widow's heart sing for joy.  (14)  I put on righteousness, and it was my clothing. I practiced justice, and it was my robe and my turban.  (15)  I was eyes for the blind person. I was feet for the lame person.  (16)  I was father to the needy. I carefully investigated cases brought by strangers.  (17)  I broke the teeth of the wicked person and made him drop the prey out of his mouth. 
(18)  "I thought, 'I may die in my own house, but I will make my days as numerous as the sand.  (19)  My roots will grow toward the water, and dew will lie on my branches all night.  (20) My power will be fresh every day, and the bow in my hand will remain new.' 
(21)  "People listened to me eagerly, quietly waiting for my advice.  (22)  After I had spoken, they wouldn't speak again. After all, my words fell gently on them.  (23)  They were as eager to hear me as they were for rain. They opened their mouths wide as if waiting for a spring shower.  (24)  When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it, but the expression on my face did not change.  (25)  I decided how they should live. I sat as their leader. I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.

28 August 2014

Am I Enough – Simplicity in Wisdom

Greetings Dear Reader,

As Job continues he points out that there is only one source of wisdom.  He points out how we dig and delve into the mysteries of the world but that is not where we find wisdom.  We have gold, silver, and gems but those do not reveal wisdom.  The proud do not have wisdom. 

He simply points out that to fear God is wisdom.  This is not the fear that is from worry over tyranny.  It is a wisdom born of understanding who God is.  It is forged in the realization of the distance there is between us and God.  Wisdom is formed in the conception of the truth that this God would rather die than live without us. 

I need to only “fear the Lord and serve him in truth.”  Like Job I need to understand that despite my relative insignificance to the grandeur that is God he loves me and wishes for me to know him.  I need to see that the infinite wisdom of the universe knows me and wants me to truly know him.  He wants me to see that despite how it may appear in any given moment 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 28:1-28 
"There is a place where silver is mined and a place where gold is refined.  (2) Iron is taken from the ground, and rocks are melted for their copper.  (3) Humans bring an end to darkness there and search to the limit of the gloomy, pitch-black rock.  (4) They open up a mineshaft far from civilization, where no one has set foot. In this shaft men dangle and swing back and forth. 
(5) "Above the ground food grows, but beneath it the food decays as if it were burned by fire.  (6) That place's stones are sapphire. Its dust contains gold.  (7) No bird of prey knows the way to it. No hawk's eye has ever seen it.  (8) No proud beast has ever walked on it. No ferocious lion has ever passed over it. 
(9) "Humans exert their power on the flinty rocks and overturn mountains at their base.  (10) They cut out mineshafts in the rocks. Their eyes see every precious thing.  (11) They explore the sources of rivers so that they bring hidden treasures to light. 
(12) "Where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding live?  (13) No mortal knows where it is. It cannot be found in this world of the living.  (14) The deep ocean says, 'It isn't in me.' The sea says, 'It isn't with me.'  (15) You cannot obtain it with solid gold or buy it for any amount of silver.  (16) It can't be bought with the gold from Ophir or with precious onyx or sapphire.  (17) Neither gold nor glass can equal its value. Nor can gold ornaments, jewels, or crystal (18) be exchanged for it. Wisdom is more valuable than gems.  (19) Topaz from Ethiopia cannot equal its value. It cannot be bought for any amount of pure gold. 
(20) "Where does wisdom come from? Where does understanding live?  (21) It is hidden from the eyes of every living being, hidden even from the birds in the air.  (22) Decay and Death say, 'We've heard a rumor about it.' 

(23) "God understands the way to it. He knows where it lives (24) because he can see to the ends of the earth and observe everything under heaven.  (25) When he gave the wind its force and measured the water in the sea, (26) when he made rules for the rain and set paths for the thunderstorms, (27) then he saw it and announced it. He confirmed it and examined it.  (28) So he told humans, 'The fear of the Lord is wisdom! To stay away from evil is understanding.'"

27 August 2014

Am I Enough – Unwavering Faith

Greetings Dear Reader,

Job continues his discourse with more vehemence and directness.  He points out that there are those who deny God but worse there are those who simply ignore him.  In the midst of his suffering Job knows that God is faithful.  He knows that God will not be unjust with him.

Because of this he refuses to sin by admitting to wrong doing that is not his.  He will not cave in to his friends’ demands.  He will die before he will dishonor God by falsifying what God has said of him. It is not enough to do what is right.  We must also humbly admit that we have forgiveness, righteousness, power, and responsibility.

Everything about life is an opportunity to extend our faith and following.  The obligation is to follow in faith no matter how difficult things may become for us.  How many times can a man be tested?  How deeply can we delve into pain and loss before we begin to doubt ourselves and God?  When things go wrong in life do we questions God’s love for us?

Job is on the verge of getting to the real question even though he does not know it yet.  He is righteous.  He is good.  The entire calamity that has befallen him is because he has an enemy that wishes to devour him.  He also has faith.  Faith can be an impenetrable shield if we allow it. 

It is not the question of doubt that is wrong.  That is the moment that the enemy, our fallen nature, or those who doubt take the swing.  It is failing to raise the shield to defend ourselves that is wrong.  Letting the blow reach us is the sin.

I must not ignore that God is there in the midst of all that is.  The sublime and the horrid are both places where God stands calling me to keep following in faith.  I must keep walking.  In every moment I must have faith that God is there, carrying me if necessary, guiding me always. 

The worst thing I can do, even for a moment is ignore him.  That is when the blows get through.  That is when the path is unclear.  That is when I am in danger of losing my way. So as Job would say, even with my last breath I will not deny 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."

Job 27:1-23 
Job continued his proverb and said,
(2) “I swear an oath by God, the one who has taken away my rights, by the Almighty, who has made my life bitter:  (3) As long as there is one breath left in me and God's breath fills my nostrils,  (4) my lips will not say anything wrong, and my tongue will not mumble anything deceitful.'  (5) It's unthinkable for me to admit that you are right. Until I breathe my last breath, I will never give up my claim of integrity.  (6) I cling to my righteousness and won't let go. My conscience won't accuse me as long as I live. 
(7) "Let my enemy be treated like wicked people. Let anyone who attacks me be treated like unrighteous people.  (8) After all, what hope does the godless person have when he is cut off, when God takes away his life?  (9) Will God hear his cry when trouble comes upon him?  (10) Can he be happy with the Almighty? Can he call on God at all times? 

(11) "I will teach you about God's power. I will not hide what the Almighty has done.  (12) Certainly, you have all seen it. Why then do you chatter on about such nonsense?  (13) This is what God has waiting for the wicked person, the inheritance that tyrants receive from the Almighty:  (14) If he has many children, swords will kill them, and his descendants won't have enough food.  (15) Those who survive him will be buried by a plague, and their widows won't cry for them.  (16) Though he collects silver like dust and piles up clothing like dirt, (17) righteous people will wear what he piles up, and the innocent will divide the silver among themselves.  (18) He builds his house like a moth, like a shack that a watchman makes.  (19) He may go to bed rich, but he'll never be rich again. When he opens his eyes, nothing will be left.  (20) Terrors overtake him like a flood. A windstorm snatches him away at night.  (21) The east wind carries him away, and he's gone. It sweeps him from his place.  (22) It hurls itself at him without mercy. He flees from its power.  (23) It claps its hands over him. It whistles at him from his own place.

26 August 2014

Am I Enough – Power, Intelligence, and Sea Dragons

Greetings Dear Reader,

Job’s reply is simple and brief.  He questions the source of his friends’ knowledge.  He wonders how sure they are that their advice comes from God.  He points out that God is both powerful and intelligent. 

I need to always be aware that God is intelligent.  He is not as simple as others would make him.  His understanding is far above mine.  He asks me to trust him .  That is all I can do if I am to follow well. 

I would be remiss if I did not mention that there is a sea dragon to deal with in this story.  We will get to him later but he pokes his head above the surface here.  Enjoy.

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 26:1-14 
Then Job replied to his friends, 
(2) "You have helped the person who has no power and saved the arm that isn't strong.  (3) You have advised the person who has no wisdom and offered so much assistance.  (4) To whom have you spoken these words, and whose spirit has spoken through you?  (5)
"The souls of the dead tremble beneath the water and so do the creatures living there.  (6) Sheol is naked in God's presence, and Abaddon has no clothing.  (7)
"He stretches out his heavens over empty space. He hangs the earth on nothing whatsoever.  (8) He holds the water in his thick clouds, and the clouds don't even split under its weight.  (9) He covers his throne by spreading his cloud over it.  (10) He marks the horizon on the surface of the water at the boundary where light meets dark.  (11) The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished when he yells at them.  (12) With his power he calmed the sea. With his insight he killed Rahab the sea monster.  (13) With his wind the sky was cleared. With his hand he stabbed the fleeing snake

(14) "These are only glimpses of what he does. We only hear a whisper of him! Who can understand the thunder of his power?"

25 August 2014

Am I Enough – Rising Tension

Greetings Dear Reader,

When Bildad speaks this time he is correct but one can see his tone is less than cordial.  I can see him raising his voice to Job and shouting facts as if a latter truth can correct his former errors. 

Bildad is correct.  God does own authority and terror.  He does establish peace.  He is the light that shines in all places.  We are born into a sinful existence because of Adam.  His problem is that in shouting about the limitless nature of God that he limits God.

He does not see past the situation to God’s ability to make us righteous.  A person can be righteous.  Job is righteous.  God has said so.  Bildad fails to understand the concept of standing and state.

We are fallen and we are worms. We are unrighteous.  We are retched and depraved.  This is our state of being or simply our state.  Until all things are made right by God we will be in this state.  They will be made right either by our reaching the end of the journey through death or by Christ’s return to make thing righteous.

There is also though our standing.  Because of our faith in Christ we are seen as righteous.  We are in good standing on the account of our right to adoption.  We have access to God through the blood of Christ.  His restitution for our sin gives us a standing of righteous.  This is the part that Bildad misses. 

Job knows we have a future redeemer in his time.  Job knows that his redeemer will create a way and he accepts it by faith.  Once again we see that what God wishes from us is faith.  It is by grace through faith we are saved.  It is not our righteous that we receive but the righteousness of Christ that is imparted to us.

I do not have to depend on my good deeds to earn God’s favor.  I can take the splendor and the horrors of life as part of the temporary moments that lead to the end of the journey.  I can laugh and cry knowing that what awaits me at the end is being seen by God as me in a righteous state.  He is working everything out for my benefit.  He insists that He is enough for me.  “I have but one hope; Christ died for my sin.  I expect to sing out into eternity on that note.” 

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 25:1-6 
Then Bildad from Shuah replied to Job, 
(2)  "Authority and terror belong to God. He establishes peace in his high places.  (3)  Is there any limit to the number of his troops? Is there anyone on whom his light does not rise?  (4)  How can a person be righteous to God? How can anyone born of a woman be pure?  (5)  Even the moon isn't bright, and the stars aren't pure in his sight.  (6) How much less pure is a mortal-who is only a maggot- a descendant of Adam-who is only a worm!"

24 August 2014

Am I Enough – The Wicked Prosper Fleetingly

Greetings Dear Reader,

Here Job answers the statement that the wicked never prosper in a way that aligns with other warnings.  He is building on his premise that what is here is only temporary.  He knows that God is moving.  He agrees that God has a superior agenda to that of his or his friends. 

He sees the world as it is.  He sees that there are hard questions about pain and suffering that have no comfortable answers.  He also has the only answer that works.  He realizes that not having faith is short sighted.  If he does not believe in the greater scheme of God then he fails to see entire picture.  He fails to embrace the only thing that can truly see us through the terrors of life.

If Job can be so armed and engined in the midst of his loss then how can I fail to do the same?  Should I accept the sunshine that God sends my way and not trust him in the storm.  It is all his.  Everything I have, want, need, or dream is God’s.  I am entrusted with things by his grace.  I breathe at his behest.  In him I live and move and have my being.  Anything else is a delusion.

If I have faith; if I believe that this life is just a tick of the eternal clock, then any pain or suffering is fleeting.  The success of those who harm me is only temporary.  It may seem like horror in the moment but that is why God wishes for me to see beyond the moment to the larger picture.

Will I feel fear? Yes, but the fear is not to be in charge.  Will I feel pain?  Yes, but the pain will pass one way or another.  God has promised to ease all suffering, right all wrongs, and wipe away every tear.  All I have to do is follow in faith.  My grain of sand will fall through the pinch in the hourglass and eventually they all will.  Then when time is full again the Father will signal the Son to make all things right.    

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 24:1-25
"Why doesn't the Almighty set aside times for punishment? Why don't those who are close to him see his days of judgment? 
(2)  "People move boundary markers. They steal flocks and tend them as shepherds.  (3)  They drive away the orphan's donkey. They take the widow's ox as security for a loan.  (4)  They force needy people off the road. All the poor people of the country go into hiding.  (5)  Like wild donkeys in the desert, poor people go out to do their work, looking for food. The plains provide food for their children.  (6)  They harvest animal food in the field to feed themselves. They pick the leftover grapes in the wicked person's vineyard.  (7)  All night they lie naked without a covering from the cold.  (8)  They are drenched by the rainstorms in the mountains. They hug the rocks because they can't find shelter. 
(9)  "People snatch the nursing orphan from a breast and take a poor woman's baby as security for a loan.  (10)  that is why the poor go around naked. They are hungry, yet they carry bundles of grain.  (11)  They press out olive oil between rows of olive trees. They stomp on grapes in wine vats, yet they are thirsty.  (12)  Those dying in the city groan. Wounded people cry for help, but God pays no attention to their prayers. 
(13)  "Such people are among those who rebel against the light. They are not acquainted with its ways. They do not stay on its paths.  (14)  At dawn murderers rise; they kill the poor and needy. At night they become thieves.  (15)  Adulterers watch for twilight. They say, 'No one is watching us,' as they cover their faces.  (16)  In the dark, they break into houses, but by day they lock themselves in. They do not even know the light, (17) because morning and deep darkness are the same to them, because they are familiar with the terrors of deep darkness.  (18)  Such people are like scum on the surface of the water. Their property is cursed in the land. People do not travel the road that goes to their vineyards.  (19)  Just as drought and heat steal water from snow, so the grave steals people who sin.  (20)  The womb forgets them. Worms feast on them. No one remembers them anymore, and wickedness is snapped like a twig.  (21)  These men take advantage of childless women. These men show no kindness to widows.  (22)  God will drag away these mighty men by his power. These people may prosper, but they will never feel secure about life.  (23)  God may let them feel confident and self-reliant, but his eyes are on their ways.  (24)  Such people may be prosperous for a little while, but then they're gone. They are brought down low and disappear like everything else. They wither like heads of grain. 
(25)  "If it isn't so, who can prove I'm a liar and show that my words are worthless?"

23 August 2014

Am I Enough – At Any Cost

Greetings Dear Reader,

When Job speaks this time one can feel his desperation to be understood by those around him.  Job reaches out to his friends with a plea for them to honestly see the place in which they put him.  He knows that God is omniscient.  He knows that God’s ways are beyond his comprehension.

Job also asserts that he has not abandoned following God.  He has worked to walk with God and make God’s ways his ways.  He treasures the words of God.  He also has a healthy fear of God.  This is not the fear that drives us to sin but rather the fear that drives us to faith.

I must not sin in my fear of the unknown.  I must not abandon God when I do not understand.  Following is born of faith and fear.  Fear of this type is an understanding of and respect for the vast difference between me and God. I must respect who God is.  I must have integrity in my dealings with God.  "For then as night follows day I cannot be false with any other man."

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 23:1- 17
Then Job replied to his friends,
"My complaint is bitter again today. I try hard to control my sighing. 
"If only I knew where I could find God! I would go where he lives.  I would present my case to him. I would have a mouthful of arguments.  I want to know the words he would use to answer me. I want to understand the things he would say to me.  Would he sue me and hide behind great legal maneuvers? No, he certainly would press charges against me.  Then decent people could argue with him, and I would escape my judgment forever.  However, if I go east, he isn't there. If I go west, I can't find him. If I go northward, where he is at work, I can't observe him. If I turn southward, I can't see him.  I can't find him because he knows the road I take. When he tests me, I'll come out as pure as gold.  I have followed his footsteps closely. I have stayed on his path and did not turn from it.  I have not left his commands behind. I have treasured his words in my heart. 

"But God is one of a kind. Who can make him change his mind? He does whatever he wants!  He will carry out his orders concerning me as he does with so many other things.  That is why I'm terrified of him. When I think of it, I'm afraid of him.  God has discouraged me. The Almighty has filled me with terror.  But I am not silenced by the dark or by the thick darkness that covers my face. 

22 August 2014

Am I Enough – Eliphaz Harsh Generalizations

Greetings Dear Reader,

I live in a very liberal town.  I am very conservative in my theology and attempt to be very Christ centered in my politics.  I do not mean that I agree with everything that conservative politics teaches us.  I do, however, feel that those who are less conservative promote an assumption that Eliphaz did to Job.

The simple assumption is that it is wrong to be rich.  Remember that at the beginning of Job’s story he is declared righteous by God and he is very wealthy.  Again we visit the polemic.  If the presumption that one cannot be both wealthy and righteous is to be accepted one of the two must not be true of Job.  God says both are true, therefore, Eliphaz presumption is false.  Further, it seems that since Job has just lost everything the “friend” would see him as instantly righteous would he not?

A second assumption that Eliphaz makes is that Job can somehow earn favor with God.  This is impossible.  Is God pleased when we do well? Yes!  Is that the basis upon which he hears our prayer of accepts us?  No!  We cannot earn favor with God.  It is the condition of man that he has eternal positive regard from God (God loves us).  We have caused a separation because of our sin but God does not love us any less.

Eliphaz third supposition is connected back to the first.  He thinks that one must give away everything to please God.  Since Job’s first response to his loss of possessions is “naked came I out of the womb and naked shall I return to God,” I am pretty sure he gets that he does not “own” anything.

Instead of having compassion for a man who is suffering Eliphaz condemns him again.  It is obvious he has not listened to Job.  I was once told by a friend who was weighing out how they felt about me, “Well on paper you are a really bad investment.”  This was part of the decision making process being used to determine the nature of our relationship.  I still feel the pain of those words and the results.  So what do I do to follow Christ more closely in response to Eliphaz?  It seems quite simple.

I need to accept that whether I am poor or prosperous God loves me and my possessions must not define me.  I need to be generous with those in need out of my abundance not to earn favor with God but to echo his love for everyone.  I need embrace humility when I am successful and promote the success of others.  In short, whether rich or poor my attitude about God should be a constant that guides my responses. 

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 22:1-30 
Then Eliphaz from Teman replied to Job,
"Can a human be of any use to God when even a wise person is only useful to himself?  Is the Almighty pleased when you are righteous? Does he gain anything when you follow the path of integrity?  Does God correct you and bring you into a court of law because you fear him? 
"Aren't you really very wicked? Is there no end to your wrongdoing?  For no reason you take your brothers' goods as security for a loan and strip them of their clothes.  You don't even give a tired person a drink of water, and you take food away from hungry people.  A strong person owns the land. A privileged person lives in it.  You send widows away empty-handed, and the arms of orphans are broken.  That is why traps are all around you and great fear suddenly grips you.  That is why darkness surrounds you and you cannot see and a flood of water covers you. 
"Isn't God high above in the heavens? Look how high the highest stars are! You ask, 'What does God know? Can he judge anything from behind a dark cloud?  Thick clouds surround him so that he cannot see. He walks above the clouds.'
"Are you following the old path that wicked people have taken?  They are snatched up before their time. A river washes their foundation away.  They told God, 'Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do for us?'  Yet, he filled their homes with good things. (The plan of the wicked is foreign to my way of thinking.)  The righteous saw it and were glad, and the innocent made fun of them by saying, Indeed, their wealth has been wiped out, and a fire has burned up what little they had left.' 

"Be in harmony and at peace with God. In this way you will have prosperity.  Accept instruction from his mouth, and keep his words in your heart.  If you return to the Almighty, you will prosper. If you put wrongdoing out of your tent, and lay your gold down in the dust, and put your gold from Ophir among the pebbles in the rivers, then the Almighty will become your gold and your large supply of silver.  Then you will be happy with the Almighty and look up toward God.  You will pray to him, and he will listen to you, and you will keep your vow to him.  When you promise to do something, you will succeed, and light will shine on your path.  When others are discouraged, you will say, 'Cheer up!' Then he will save the humble person.  He will rescue one who is not innocent. That person will be rescued by your purity."

21 August 2014

Am I Enough – Job States the Obvious

Greetings Dear Reader,

After his “friend” is so very rude to him Job indulges in a bit of sarcasm.  What he wishes from his friends is comfort.  Instead they are giving him further grief.  He asks that if they will listen he will consider that the comfort he needs.  He then assures them that after he is finished they can go on mocking him.

He reminds his friends that the wicked do prosper.  Those that reject God can still become rich, relatively happy, have fun, and feel good.  What he says next simplifies the real horrors that face those who reject God.  It is not hell and damnation that is the true horror one should fear.  It is rather, God giving you exactly what you ask for from him.

Job recounts what so many still say today, “But they say to God, 'Leave us alone. We don't want to know your ways.  Who is the Almighty that we should serve him? What do we gain if we pray to him?'”

I am not going to weigh in on what I think happens to those who reject God when they die.  I am going to express that the worst punishment possible is that he gives them exactly what they want.  If one spends his life not wanting to know God and his ways then is it not God simply giving you that separation from him that is a true hell?

Whether they admit it or not those who choose to believe that God does not exist are betting eternity on that belief.  That is enough for me to take that risk that God exists.  I have chosen to follow Christ because of who he represents God to be.  I do not wish for anyone to suffer.  I also do not want to spend my life running from someone who loves me. 

It is faith that God demands.  I follow in faith.  I accept that there will be suffering because of sin and even the righteous will suffer at times.  I am only as righteous as God sees me.  I fail and fall and forget to follow.  But I get up again.  I am determined by God’s grace to follow as fully as possible.  For those who choose not to believe I fear that God may give them exactly what they want.  That terrifies me.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

Job 21:1-34
Then Job replied to his friends,
"Listen carefully to my words, and let that be the comfort you offer me.  Bear with me while I speak. Then after I've spoken, you may go on mocking.  Am I complaining about a person? Why shouldn't I be impatient?  Look at me, and be shocked, and put your hand over your mouth.  When I remember it, I'm terrified, and shuddering seizes my body. 
"Why do the wicked go on living, grow old, and even become more powerful? They see their children firmly established with them, and they get to see their descendants.  Their homes are free from fear, and God doesn't use his rod on them.  Their bulls are fertile when they breed. Their cows give birth to calves and never miscarry.  They send their little children out to play like a flock of lambs, and their children dance around.  They sing with the tambourine and lyre, and they are happy with the music of the flute.  They spend their days in happiness, and they go peacefully to the grave.  But they say to God, 'Leave us alone. We don't want to know your ways.  Who is the Almighty that we should serve him? What do we gain if we pray to him?'  Anyhow, isn't their happiness in their own power? (The plan of the wicked is foreign to my way of thinking.) 
"How often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does disaster happen to them? How often does an angry God give them pain?  How often are they like straw in the wind or like husks that the storm sweeps away? 
"You say, 'God saves a person's punishment for his children.' God should pay back that person so that he would know that it is a punishment.  His eyes should see his own ruin. He should drink from the wrath of the Almighty.  How can he be interested in his family after he's gone, when the number of his months is cut short? 
"Can anyone teach God knowledge? Can anyone judge the Most High?  One person dies in his prime and feels altogether happy and contented.  His stomach is full of milk, and his bones are strong and healthy.  Another person, never having tasted happiness, dies with a bitter soul.  Together they lie down in the dust, and worms cover them. 

"You see, I know your thoughts and the schemes you plot against me because you ask, 'Where is the house of the influential person? Where is the tent where wicked people live?'  Haven't you asked travelers? But you didn't pay attention to their directions.  On the day of disaster the wicked person is spared. On the day of God's anger he is rescued.  Who will tell him to his face how he lived? Who will pay him back for what he did?  He is carried to the cemetery, and his grave is guarded.  The soil in the creek bed is sweet to him. Everyone follows him. Countless others went before him.  How can you comfort me with this nonsense when your answers continue to betray me?"

20 August 2014

Am I Enough – Zophar the Rude

Greetings Dear Reader,

I wonder often why it is that we become angry when we discuss things.  I realize that some issues are emotionally charged.  I also realize that when we allow our emotions to override our decency we lose credibility. 

Job’s “friend” becomes aggressive and vulgar toward Job.  He uses metaphors that one would not use with a friend.  Not only has he forgotten compassion and love.  He has left behind the tenants of kindness and love that are supposed to guide our attempts to restore those who have sinned.

The arrogance of his words seem to have the opposite of his desired impact.  Even reading them thousands of years later I am shocked by his words.  The crassness and anger are more offensive than anything they have supposed Job to have done.

I have both reacted wrongly to the supposed sin of others and have had anger launched at me when someone was falsely accusing me of wrong.  I know that my past anger at others not seeing their sin was misguided.  No one wins.  No one benefits.  Nothing is changed except the depth of the pain and hurt.

Even recently I have had others say disrespectful and unkind things to me in anger.  We forget too easily how much long term damage words can do to another person.  For me when someone I love launches thoughtless words in my direction the damage lingers long after I have forgiven the person.

My own struggles with who I am use the echoes of those words to torment me both waking and sleeping.  Things that have been said to me by those closest to me have left fissures in my spirit that I cannot transcend.  When I see these people the words echo reminding me what they are willing to do in a moment of anger.

I handle this by sinking deeper into faith, following, and kindness.  I cannot avoid the feelings but I can learn from the pain.  I can resolve to avoid thoughtless words.  I can resolve to keep my word no matter what the cost.  I can determine that even when someone else is wrong to the core I will not harm them to prove my point.

Only in following Christ more closely in this do I find peace in my pain.   

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 20:1- 29
Then Zophar from Naama replied to Job,
"My disturbing thoughts make me answer, and because of them I am upset. I have heard criticism that makes me ashamed, but a spirit beyond my understanding gives me answers. 
"Don't you know that from ancient times, from the time humans were placed on earth, the triumph of the wicked is short-lived, and the joy of the godless person lasts only a moment?  If his height reaches to the sky and his head touches the clouds, he will certainly rot like his own feces. Those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?' He will fly away like a dream and not be found. He will be chased away like a vision in the night.  Eyes that saw him will see him no more. His home will not look at him again. His children will have to ask the poor for help. His own hands will have to give back his wealth.  His bones, once full of youthful vigor, will lie down with him in the dust. 
“Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue. . . Though he savors it and won't let go of it and he holds it on the roof of his mouth, the food in his belly turns sour. It becomes snake venom in his stomach.  He vomits up the riches that he swallowed. God forces them out of his stomach.  The godless person sucks the poison of snakes. A viper's fang kills him.  He won't be able to drink from the streams or from the rivers of honey and buttermilk.  He will give back what he earned without enjoying it. He will get no joy from the profits of his business because he crushed and abandoned the poor. He has taken by force a house that he didn't build.  He will never know peace in his heart. He will never allow anything he desires to escape his grasp.

“Nothing is left for him to eat. His prosperity won't last.  Even with all his wealth the full force of misery comes down on him.  Let that misery fill his belly. God throws his burning anger at the godless person and makes his wrath come down on him like rain.  If that person flees from an iron weapon, a bronze bow will pierce him.  He pulls it out, and it comes out of his back. The glittering point comes out of his gallbladder. "Terrors come quickly to the godless person: Total darkness waits in hiding for his treasure. A fire that no one fans will burn him. Whatever is left in his tent will be devoured.  Heaven exposes his sin. Earth rises up against him.  A flood will sweep away his house, a flash flood on the day of his anger.  This is the reward God gives to the wicked person, the inheritance God has appointed for him."

19 August 2014

Am I Enough – Job and Resurrection

Greetings Dear Reader,

When Job speaks this time it is clear he is exasperated with his friends.  He uses metaphor and hyperbole to express is pain and anguish.  What he wants from his friends is compassion and respect.  What he is getting is condemnation and judgment. 

He explains that everyone around him avoids him.  All of his relationships are suffering because of the responses to his affliction.  Job is sure he is going to die.  And in that surety he speaks a mystery.

Job explains near the end of this part of his discourse that he knows some vital things:
  • He knows that his redeemer is already alive.
  • He knows that his redeemer will come physically to the earth.
  • He know that even if he has died and decomposed that he will see his redeemer in the flesh.

The source of Job’s hope is not just that he has faith in God.  He also has faith in redemption and the resurrection.  He believes in the eventual reclamation of all things.  This is the bedrock of his endurance.  He sees beyond his short spin on the earth to that which will right all things.  This is the hope.

It must be my hope as well.  It must be what sustains me.  All things will be made right.  I must continue to follow so that I will be seen as faithful at the end.  It is the hope of the resurrection that is supposed to sustain me.  It is belief that will give me the courage to continue walking until Christ returns for me or I finally journey to him.

Keep on Walking – The Imperials

Are you weary in well-doing, walking on the road to New Jerusalem?
Are you hoping and a-praying, looking any minute for the Lord to come?
And do you see a lot of pleasant-looking places where you might lay down to take a rest?
And if you do, take a look at all the faces there, the sadness will tell you that it's best

To keep on walkin', you don't know how far you've come.
Keep on walkin' for all you know it may be done.
And the Father might be standing up right now to give the call and end it all,
So, keep on walkin'

Now if you need a feelin' to keep you on the road you started travelin' on,
You're gonna have some trouble learning that it's faith that keeps you movin' on.
And in the Lord you start your walk from sitting, but sometimes you have to take a step
And standin's not another word for quitting, it's jut takin' a tighter hold of His hand.

To keep on walkin', you don't know how far you've come.
Keep on walkin' for all you know it may be done.
And the Father might be standing up right now to give the call and end it all,
So, keep on walkin'

So keep on walkin', you don't know how far you've come.
Keep on walkin' for all you know it may be done.
And the Father might be standing up right now to give the call and end it all,
So, keep on walkin'.

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 19:1- 29 
Then Job replied to his friends,
"How long will you torment me and depress me with words?  You have insulted me ten times now. You're not even ashamed of mistreating me.  Even if it were true that I've made a mistake without realizing it, my mistake would affect only me.  If you are trying to make yourselves look better than me by using my disgrace as an argument against me, then I want you to know that God has wronged me and surrounded me with his net.  Indeed, I cry, 'Help! I'm being attacked!' but I get no response. I call for help, but there is no justice.  
"God has blocked my path so that I can't go on. He has made my paths dark.  He has stripped me of my honor. He has taken the crown off my head.  He beats me down on every side until I'm gone. He uproots my hope like a tree.  He is very angry at me. He considers me to be his enemy.  His troops assemble against me. They build a ramp to attack me and camp around my tent.” 
"My brothers stay far away from me. My friends are complete strangers to me.  My relatives and my closest friends have stopped coming. My house guests have forgotten me.  My female slaves consider me to be a stranger. I am like a foreigner to them.  I call my slave, but he doesn't answer, though I beg him.  My breath offends my wife. I stink to my own children.  Even young children despise me. If I stand up, they make fun of me.  All my closest friends are disgusted with me. Those I love have turned against me.  I am skin and bones, and I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.”
"Have pity on me, my friends! Have pity on me because God's hand has struck me down.  Why do you pursue me as God does? Why are you never satisfied with my flesh?” 
"I wish now my words were written. I wish they were inscribed on a scroll.  I wish they were forever engraved on a rock with an iron stylus and lead.  But I know that my defender lives, and afterwards, he will rise on the earth.  Even after my skin has been stripped off my body, I will see God in my own flesh.  I will see him with my own eyes, not with someone else's. My heart fails inside me!” 

"You say, 'We will persecute him! The root of the problem is found in him.' Fear death, because your anger is punishable by death. Then you will know there is a judge."

18 August 2014

Am I Enough – Bildad Fosters Fear

Greetings Dear Reader,

Last evening I was privileged to witness my Son Maxim teaching his eldest about keeping your word.  He gently and lovingly explained to the three year old that when you tell people something they believe you.  If you tell them you are going to do something then they count on you. 

I was proud to see my Son use love and wisdom to guide my Grandson.  Bildad is trying to get Job to confess to sin he has not committed out of fear.  He warns Job of the calamities that always befall the wicked.  Both his approach and assumption are filled with errors.

Sometimes the wicked prosper. Some of their ventures are successful.  The rain falls on the just and the unjust.  The beauty of a sunrise can be appreciated by the most vile of men.  This is just the way it is.

When Bildad uses fear of what will happen to manipulate Job into a confession he is not representing God.  Are we to fear God?  Yes.  Is that what he wishes to move us toward him?  No!  Respectful fear for who God is leads to wisdom.  Fearing that God is a hammer waiting for the opportunity to crush you is absurd.

I should fear the things that are the consequences of my sin.  I should not move toward God out of fear.  I should fear that my failure to follow Christ may cause damage to others.  I should not follow out of fear.  Job’s attitude toward God before his suffering is one of love and respect.

I must follow Christ out of love.  I must fear the consequences of my sin but not fear God for that reason.  If I truly follow out of love then I need not fear anything.

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 18:1-21
Then Bildad from Shuah replied to Job,
"How long before your words will end? Think it through, and then we'll talk.  Why do you think of us as cattle? Why are we considered stupid in your eyes?  Why do you rip yourself apart in anger? Should the earth be abandoned for your sake or a boulder be dislodged? 
"Indeed, the light of the wicked is snuffed out. The flame of his fire stops glowing. The light in his tent becomes dark, and the lamp above him is snuffed out. 
"His healthy stride is shortened, and his own planning trips him up.  His own feet get him tangled in a net as he walks around on its webbing.  A trap catches his heel. A snare holds him.  A rope is hidden on the ground for him. A trap is on his path to catch him. 

"Terrors suddenly pounce on him from every side and chase him every step he takes.  Hunger undermines his strength. Disaster is waiting beside him.  His skin is eaten away by disease. Death's firstborn son eats away at the limbs of his body He is dragged from the safety of his tent and marched off to the king of terrors.  Fire lives in his tent. Sulfur is scattered over his home.  His roots dry up under him. His branches wither over him.  All memory about him will vanish from the earth, and his reputation will not be known on the street corner.  He will be driven from the light into the dark and chased out of the world.  He will not have any children or descendants among his people or any survivor where he used to live.  People in the west are shocked by what happens to him. People in the east are seized with horror.  This is what happens to the homes of wicked people and to those who do not know God."

17 August 2014

Am I Enough – Job Continues - Hope

Greetings Dear Reader,

I mentioned a few weeks ago that a friend called hope a “four letter word.”  Her sentiment was lighthearted but serious.  It seems here that Job is ready to die if necessary but that he has not lost hope. 

Job is building to a moment.  We need to remember that this is considered poetry and wisdom literature.  It is not just Job’s story.  It is an attempt to teach us a deeper aspect of God’s character.  This is our first deep lesson from Job that God is enough. 

Remember that this is the question that the book is asking.  Is God enough?  If my friends and family betray me is God enough?  If I lose everything is God enough?  If my health fails is God enough? 

It seems that if God is enough then there is never an end to hope.  Hope is the connective tissue of faith.  No matter the circumstances in which I find myself I can choose to remain faithful because of hope.  The risen Christ is the hope of our salivation.  This will become important soon in Job’s story. 

Hope is what we are given to keep us tethered to faith.  No matter what the world, friends, or family does to us, God offers us hope that things will be better.  Out of love for us God teaches us a dance of hope and faith that can lead us home from even the darkest places.

No matter what other people do to me I can hope in Christ.  No matter what I have or do not have my hope must be in Christ.  No matter the state of my health I must hope in Christ that one day I will be whole.  Like the concert movement of muscles and tendons necessary to walk, faith and hope give me the power to follow Christ.

If God is enough then I can follow in being good to others.  I can love at any cost.  I can keep my commitments to God and others knowing that God will honor and support me.  It is failing to live out my faith to its fullest that damages hope.  If God is enough I can do whatever I must do and know that he will be with me every step of the way.  He will carry me if necessary.  But he needs to be enough. 

What Kind of Joy - Stephen Curtis Chapman

Anybody in their right mind
Would've given up their preaching and headed for home
They've been warned a hundred times
But something inside them keeps giving them hope
And just when you think they'd be crying
Instead of the tears, there's joy in their eyes

What kind of joy is this
That counts it a blessing to suffer
What kind of joy is this
That gives the prisoner his song
What kind of joy could stare death in the face
And see it as sweet victory
This is the joy of a soul that's forgiven and free

Anybody else with his pain
Would want to shake their fist at heaven
And give up the fight
'Cause trouble had been Paul's middle name
Ever since he'd been captured by God's blinding light
But just when his hope should be dying
If you listen you'll hear him singing a song

What kind of joy is this,
That counts it a blessing to suffer
What kind of joy is this,
That gives the prisoner his song
What kind of joy could stare death in the face,
And see it as sweet victory
This is the joy of a soul that's forgiven and free

What kind of joy is this
What kind of joy is this

What kind of joy is this
The Father has promised his children
What kind of joy is this
That Jesus has come to reveal
What kind of joy could give hope in this world
To someone just like you and me
This is the joy of a soul that's forgiven and free
I've found this joy for my soul is forgiven and free

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

Job 17:1-16
"My spirit is broken. My days have been snuffed out. The cemetery is waiting for me.  Certainly, mockers are around me. My eyes are focused on their opposition.   Please guarantee my bail yourself. Who else will guarantee it with a handshake?  You have closed their minds so that they cannot understand. That is why you will not honor them.  (Whoever turns in friends to get their property should have his children's eyesight fail.) 
"Now he has made me a laughingstock for many people. Now they spit in my face.  Now my eyes are blurred from grief. Now all my limbs are like a shadow.  Decent people are shocked by this, and it stirs up the innocent against godless people.  Yet, the righteous person clings to his way, and the one with clean hands grows stronger. 

"But now, all of you come and try again! I won't find one wise man among you.  My days are passing by. My plans are broken. My dreams are shattered.  You say that night is day. Light has nearly become darkness.  If I look for the grave as my home and make my bed in the darkness, if I say to the pit, 'You are my father,' and to the worm, 'You are my mother and sister,' then where is my hope? Can you see any hope left in me?  Will hope go down with me to the gates of the grave? Will my hope rest with me in the dust?"

16 August 2014

Am I Enough – Job Speaks - Friends

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is so clear that Job understands what friendship is.  He has lost everything except his life, his “friends”, he wife, and his faith.  He sits in sackcloth (read that burlap) and ashes.  I think that we can look to Job for a clear understanding of friends.

The other day my brother commented on the failure of Job’s friends when talking about the death of Robin Williams.  “Job's ‘friends’ were so concerned about the morality of his tragedy that they forgot to bring their hearts and simply mourn with him.”

We tell people that we care about them whilst judging, hurting, and condemning them.  We say that we are just being honest of being a good friend when we do not see the pain and damage we cause by our actions.  How do we dare call ourselves followers of Christ when we refuse to be honorable with our friends and family?

A friend loves at all times.  A friend does not judge and condemn.  A friend is bound by what they promise.  The show compassion, kindness, and support.  They do not intentionally hurt others to get what they want.  I see people I love doing this to people I love.  It is so far from what Christ wants us to be as his followers.

I know that I have done the same in the past and the pain of it echoes still in those I have betrayed and in my heart.  We damage others telling ourselves that it will not turn out badly.  We take our wants over what a true friend, sibling, parent, child, or spouse should be.  We then choose to believe the lie that there will not be painful, life-altering consequences.  It never works out that way.

Job also reminds us that when betrayed by those who are supposed to be friends and family we have a friend who pleads our case before God.  He speaks clearly that we have a friend, Christ, the Messiah who pleads with us to God for justice.  I do not need to seek vengeance or use my anger against those who betray me.  I can love them, forgive them, and pray for them.  God will hear my advocate and see to justice. 

Later we will see how important it is for me to assure that my heart is directed toward my friends in love and forgiveness.  No matter how much they hurt me I must give my best.  I must still be a true friend so I do not become guilty of the same 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."

Job 16:1-22
Then Job replied to his friends,
"I have heard many things like this before. You are all pathetic at comforting me.
Will your long-winded speeches never end? What disturbs you that you keep on answering me?  I, too, could speak like you if we could trade places. I could string words together against you and shake my head at you.  I could encourage you with my mouth, and my quivering lips could ease your pain.  If I speak, my pain is not eased. If I stop talking, how much of it will go away?
”But now, God has worn me out. You, God, have destroyed everyone who supports me.  You have shriveled me up, which itself is a witness against me. My frail body rises up and testifies against me. 
"God's anger tore me apart and attacked me. He gritted his teeth at me. My opponent looked sharply at me.  People gaped at me with wide-open mouths. In scorn they slapped my cheeks. They united against me.  God handed me over to unjust people and threw me into the hands of wicked people.  I was at ease, and he shattered me. He grabbed me by the back of the neck and smashed my skull. He set me up as his target, and his archers surrounded me. He slashes open my kidneys without mercy and spills my blood on the ground.  He inflicts wound after wound on me. He lunges at me like a warrior. 
"I have sewn sackcloth over my skin, and I have thrown my strength in the dust.  My face is red from crying, and dark shadows encircle my eyes, although my hands have done nothing violent, and my prayer is sincere. 

"Earth, don't cover my blood. Don't ever let my cry for justice be stopped.  Even now, look! My witness is in heaven, and the one who testifies for me is above, the spokesman for my thoughts. My eyes drip with tears to God because in a few short years I will take the path of no return.  But my witness will plead for a human in front of God. The Son of Man will plead for his friend!