Tag Archives: C.S. Lewis

Rapping At My Chamber Door

by Timothy W. Tron – April, 2022

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek, find. To those who knock, it is opened.”[1]

A long time ago, in what now seems like another life, I spent the summer of 1976 working in a trim shop in Evansville, Indiana, called Vessels. It was the kind of place where people would bring their cars to get their seat covers repaired or replaced with new ones. They also specialized in vinyl roofs and boat covers. It was my first job off the farm, where I had worked most of my teens. This would be the first job where I didn’t receive payment in cash but instead received a real paycheck. My stepdad was the foreman, which was more than comforting because I always had the feeling that someone was looking out for me. That was important because Vessels employed a pretty rough crowd – from Vietnam vets with PTSD to recovering drug addicts and everything in between.

New hires were paired with more experienced employees, so when they put me with Raphael, I didn’t know what to expect. He was a young black man, probably in his late twenties, shorter than me, but had massive biceps and forearms. Rafael kept his hair cut short, and he had a long scar on the side of his face that ran from his cheek to his jaw bone – its existence of which was never mentioned. Rumor was that he boxed on the side, mostly street, bare-knuckle events, and from the looks of it, could handle himself pretty well. Being just a new kid off the farm, it was a very daunting atmosphere. However, it was there that I learned to listen, imitate, and adapt, a trait that would serve me well for the rest of my life.

Raphael and I worked at a large, very worn table grounded to the concrete floor; he on one side, me on the other. There was no air conditioning, only fans that blew the hot summer air around, making for a sultry, fluorescent, dimly lit ambiance. The atmosphere was intoxicating, with odors of fresh vinyl and glue, both ingredients necessary for the work. Raphael and I used hog ring pliers to staple the new seat covers on the frames of the seats after we had removed the old, nasty, torn covers. It was a tedious job, but we were both thankful to have one for our own reasons, so we kept to ourselves mostly. Yet, as one does with anything that challenges your paradigm of life, you slowly learn about the person in the trench next to you, whether you want to or not.

Off and on, Raphael would slowly share glimpses of himself with me in odd ways. We didn’t speak much at first, mostly because he was always whistling. Those melodies he chose were something to which I could relate; old church hymns, songs that I had known all my young life. Yet, instead of my grandma Tron singing God’s praise through pursed lips, it was a young black man. Looking back, he probably knew those were something I could relate to – an unspoken welcome if you will. But my introduction to the world through Raphael didn’t stop there. He would often go into long recantations of literature. At first, they seemed to be mere ramblings of thought, but the more I listened, the more I realized that they were quotes from works of poetry. It wasn’t simply the words he spoke, but more than that, it amazed me at how much he had seemingly memorized. One day, after reciting another lengthy prose, I finally inquired about the piece he had just mentioned. Something about rapping at a door caught my ear.

“The Raven,” he replied, smiling through his thick shadowed mustache. A single gold tooth gleamed from the broad smile. The sweat glistened off of his dark, chiseled forearms.

“Can you teach it to me?”

“Sure, I guess we got plenty of time.” He finished the seat he had just tightened, sitting it up on the table across from me with a loud thump. “Let me get this in that Chevy out there, and we’ll get started.” He dashed off to the parking lot, returning shortly afterward, smiling more than ever. “Now, where do we begin?”

Raphael spent the remainder of the summer sharing various works of poets he liked to memorize with me, but Edgar Allan Poe was by far his favorite. Over and over again, he would work with me learning, line after line, until we could finally repeat them together. “The Raven” seemed to always be our “go-to” piece.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“ ’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —

Only this and nothing more.”

To each of us, there was something special about the words we shared. To Raphael, it was the heartache of the man in the tale. The most poignant section of the verse that always stuck with me was the rapping at the door on that bleak, dark night by the raven. In many ways, a broadsword and a door are the same, each having two sides. The blade’s two meanings are as opposing as night and day – one to save lives, the other to take lives.

Similarly, the door has a dual purpose, the inner and the outer. From each side, one can have a different perspective from the one standing on the other side. From whence you stand makes all the difference in the world. Alone, the man in the poem is distraught over his love, and one can surmise that he is slowly drifting into insanity. But who wouldn’t find a knock on the door of one’s house in the middle of the night a bit more compelling than just a curious tap? The same rapping upon the chamber door in the middle of the day is far easier to accept; the other is a sense of impending doom.

Yet, are we not to be prepared for the Lord’s return at any time? As Jesus told his disciples, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”[2] It is this proverbial rapping at our chamber door, deep into the night, which we most dread. For, it is not the known that beckons our fears, but the unknown. Likewise, unless we have the foresight to know who is on the opposite side of that last bastion of barrier between us and the world beyond, we cannot know to whom calls upon us.

Trepidation awaits if we allow it. Yet, when we truly know in our hearts that we can be called upon at any time, therein itself lies a comfort, erasing the mysticism of the unknown. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”[3]

But there is the other side, the portion from which we are the ones to be the caller. It is when we seek God that we are requesting permission to enter into his presence. Before Jesus, only certain priests were allowed to enter into the holiest of holies, and then only at specific times of the year. When Christ shed his blood on the cross, the veil that separated the holiest of holies from the world was torn from top to bottom. It was then, if we have requested permission that we were finally allowed to enter into God’s presence; a gift from God to those whom he loved enough to give the life of his only Son. “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”[4]

But as clear as the Bible is on seeking Him. But sadly, many will never listen. Their own will, earthly desires, and self-purpose will prove stronger than their desire to know God. Jesus made it perfectly clear when asked about how many will be saved, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.[5]

The summer of 76 eventually ended, and with it, my time at the trim shop. School was about to start up my full-time summer job had concluded. I never saw Raphael again. It is sometimes odd to think of God working in us, even when we knew him the least. So often, in times of torment and persecution, when we go to God in prayer, we feel him with us, but oddly enough, it is the times we least expect him that he is with us the most. So, it was in my youth.

Time has passed, and like all memories, one wonders how the other acquaintances in their lives faired. God’s path for us is never expected, and through it, when we look back, was there for a purpose. Such is the case for me. For in the shade of the shop lights, in a hot July summer, a young white kid just off the farm and a street-savvy young black man formed a bond over the most unlikely of poets, sharing the words penned some 100 years before them both. Through it, I learned how others, unlike me in so many ways, had riches to share with me that would enhance my journey through life.

Even a secular poem can remind us to seek God, to knock upon his door. When we enter into His presence, we are then within him and He within us – inside God’s dwelling place. From there, we can then perceive the knock from within – the call to serve. So, when that gentle rapping comes at your door, don’t hesitate to open it. “Many are the called, but few are chosen.” So, when your time comes, be prepared to answer, “Yes, Lord, it is I, take me.”

Live your life so that when your judgment day comes, it won’t be your will that had been done, but rather His.

Yes, then you will know you are finally home.

Thanks be to God.


[1] The Great Divorce. Copyright © 1946, C. S Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed 1973 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

[2] 1 Thessalonians 5:2 KJV

[3] Revelation 3:30 KJV

[4] Jeremiah 29:12-13 KJV

[5] Luke 13:23-30 KJV

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Red Pill or Blue Pill?

by Timothy W. Tron – Feb. 12, 2022

In C.S. Lewis’ work, “The Weight of Glory,” he asks a very pertinent question that we seem to be facing more and more each day in that, “How do we decide what is good or evil? The usual answer is that we decide by conscience. But probably no one thinks now of conscience as a separate faculty, like one of the senses. Indeed, it cannot be so thought of. For an autonomous faculty like a sense cannot be argued with; you cannot argue a man into seeing green if he sees blue. But the conscience can be altered by argument; and if you did not think so, you would not have asked me to come and argue with you about the morality of obeying the civil law when it tells us to serve in the wars. Conscience, then, means the whole man engaged in a particular subject matter.

But even in this sense, conscience still has two meanings. It can mean (a) the pressure a man feels upon his will to do what he Thinks is right; (b) his judgment as to what the content of right and wrong are. In sense (a) conscience is always to be followed. It is the sovereign of the universe, which “if it had power as it has right, would absolutely rule the world.” It is not to be argued with, but obeyed, and even to question it is to incur guilt. But in sense (b) it is a very different matter. People may be mistaken about wrong and right; most people in some degree are mistaken. By what means are mistakes in this field to be corrected?”[1]

Then, when we contrast Lewis’ words to the account in the Gospel of John, when the Scribes and the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery and placed her before him, planning to accuse him of judging, we see how the conscious can be a powerful force. It is a crucial aspect that many overlook.

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”[2]

Why did they depart beginning at the eldest? Were there mistakes they realized that needed to be corrected? When we read this line of scripture we get the feeling that the older Pharisees immediately recognized their own sin and, in so doing, were shamed into dropping their figurative stones of accusation and leaving the temple.

But again, I ask, “Why did the old men leave first and not the young?”

When presentations to an audience are given, it is widely known that the younger the general age of the listeners, to a point, the quicker and more amplified is their reaction to what is being delivered. So, how was it that those who usually took longer to respond would leave first? Should they not have spent time trying to recall all those years of living in sin? Or were they deciding upon the options – fleeing would be dropping the charges on a slam-dunk case, essentially saying that this unlearned teacher was right? Saving face must have been another reason not to exit because doing so was only confirming the speaker’s own reversal of accusatorial questioning.

To answer these questions, we must look deeper into scriptures and understand what those Pharisees would have known and to consider that the power of the Holy Spirit was indeed at work.

We start at the beginning, when God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”[3]

Up until that point, man’s consciousness was only aware that he was alive, awake, and able to tend to the garden of Eden. There was no need to understand beyond what God knew. This freedom of will, the ability to choose between obeying a simple command, was man’s gift – to do with it as he pleased. But when they partook of the tree, “Seeing that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,”[4] they suddenly became aware of their nakedness, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”[5]

Not only had they now broken God’s commandment but they also became the cause of the first physical death. God made the first blood sacrifice to cover their sins when he provided them “coats of skins, and clothed them.”[6] As the natural man develops, we can now see how one physically matures. In children or childlike nature, we see innocence. The desires of the flesh are not understood until the age of puberty. When the growth hormones kick in, and suddenly our childhood playmate, sweet little Susie, has curves we men never noticed before, and something inside us starts to smolder, like kindling that was dry and brittle, waiting for the spark to ignite. A beautiful body, free of cumbersome coverings God had made, and with it, a place of such beauty and profound richness that man could have literally lived forever. They were fully mature and with a knowledge probably far exceeding that of today’s man. They understood that God’s command came with a price, for he didn’t simply say “Do not eat of the tree,” but rather, he told them the consequence that would occur if they did, “You will die.” Yet, the disobedience, that choice to decide to go against God’s will, his one and only rule, brought forth retribution for all mankind.

It would take the Grace of God to save us from ourselves.

Those Pharisees who had cornered Jesus in the temple that morning were suddenly made aware of their own judgment of the flesh. The simple statement, “He that is without sin among you, let he first cast a stone at her,” reminded them of their mortal shortcoming. The adultery, the sin of the flesh, brought about an accusation based on the Mosaic law, yet those who judged were no better. A sudden conviction of their own conscious shook them to their core. Alone, a conviction of one’s conscious can be humbling, but when that sense is in the presence of God, it becomes enhanced, amplified to a level that must have been unbearable.

Now, let’s focus on the younger men who were with the accusers. Were they lingering longer because they had less sin to fear? Or were they following the lead of their elders? Or was it possible that the next generation doesn’t have enough consciousness to know when to leave or stay?

“What do you mean by that,” you might ask?

1 Cor.8:7-12 “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”

Think about how the world is trying to reshape consciousness. From the video game addictions to just how we are being controlled through social media, we are constantly being bombarded by the growing presence of AI. The movie “The Matrix” has an almost cult following among our youth. In it, humanity exists as a level of consciousness connected by a supercomputer, plugged into every human so that their collective consciousness is one. Our youth have already begun to question if the reality we see is really the real thing – red pill (reality) or blue pill (to live in the fabricated world of The Matrix)?

Which pill do we choose?

When left to the powers of their own natural instinct, men are carnally minded and think in linear terms. They follow their “gut” instincts, allowing the world to influence their decision-making. We can predict from their past behaviors what their future actions will become. Artificial Intelligence (AI)  is based on this assumption. The Oxford Languages definition of AI is “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”[7]

Does the next generation have enough consciousness to know when to leave or when to stay? Those in the temple that day tarried. Did they lack the same level of conviction? Are they representative of our youth today? What will be the driving consciousness to the next generation? Will they rely on AI to give them the answer?

Rosalind Picard of MIT warns, ““The greater the freedom of a machine, the more it will need moral standards.” [8]

Left to our own devices, we will find comfort in those images, songs, and pages of information that AI will feed us. Unfortunately, the more we allow the input, the more we go down that path, being led to a destination that is less than desirable. We become like an opioid addict, requiring more of what the world has to offer until we diminish the very consciousness meant to govern our will.

We need to wake up and realize that we must make our own decisions and not be led as animal is to slaughter. We’ve been given the means to know the truth, for it is by the Word of God that we can find comfort, hope, and truth. The Bible is one of the most precious gifts we have. We must not let the world change that.

God created man in his image so that being human is more than just having knowledge wisdom, but the conscious sets us apart from his other creations. Through our consciousness, we can do his will. Through this God-given capacity, we are capable of knowing right from wrong because each of us is a free moral agent.

Which pill will you choose, red or blue?

When those Pharisees turned and left the temple that day, had they experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, and were they suddenly and completely awakened to who Jesus really was, the Son of God?

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,”[9]

Someday, we shall know the answer.

Thanks be to God.


[1] The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

[2] John 8:7-9 KJV

[3] Genesis 2:16-17 KJV

[4] Genesis 3:6 KJV

[5] Genesis 3:7 KJV

[6] Genesis 3:21

[7] https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/

[8] http://truthreallymatters.com/wordpress/

[9] Romans 9:1 KJV

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The Fruits of the Spirit

Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”

– Mt. 7:16-19

As Thanksgiving approaches, we should reflect on the many things we should be thankful for in our lives.  This story is meant to do just that.  Hopefully, it will allow you to step back and think of life through another lens.

Our story begins at the weekly Bible study known as the Men’s Connection.

As brother Richard recently spoke at our morning Bible study, he spoke of what it was to sacrifice, to serve without expectation of receiving.  His dear, beloved Ann had passed earlier in the year, and he was leading us in a study of death and how we should face it.  But more than the discussion of terminal illness, his message invoked the feeling of how we should not be more than we ought to think of ourselves – to be humble, with all gentleness in our servitude.  On this last day of his series, he brought to light the importance of Spiritual Gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit.  Again and again, those in attendance were moved by his message.

As Richard spoke, my mind began to drift to other moments reinforced by his words.

It was the middle of the summer, July 18th, to be exact.  My journal recorded the event because of the profound nature of the encounter.  It was an unseasonably warm day for Boone, which made me yearn for a cup of ice cream.  Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, I took a break and made my way up to King Street to one of my favorite snack shops.  Walking out of the establishment into the bright, sunshine a thought occurred to me, “How are you going to reach others when you came alone?” Usually, I try to find a student or faculty to walk and talk with, but there wasn’t anyone around that could go on this day, so I was alone.  Feeling a bit guilty in my singular pleasure, another thought arose, “Why not head over to the shady spots on the hill?”

So, with these thoughts in play, my feet began walking toward the old, refurbished gathering place in the middle of Boone, The Jones House.  It is a natural oasis in the middle of all the hustle of downtown.  There sitting on a hill, girded by massive Oaks and Ashe trees, overlooking the comings-and-goings of the small town below, sits an old home with a wide front porch littered with rocking chairs that invite you in with welcoming arms.  Usually, it is the headquarters for the Junior Appalachian Musician program, along with other Old-Time music and various music events in the community.  But on that particular day, it was merely the quick stop for visitors looking for a public restroom or just a quiet place to sit and rest.

View from the porch of the historic Jones House on King St., in Boone, NC.

As I found my way up the steep steps from King St., it was there that the realization of my hopes to sit alone on the porch to savor my sweet treat was not going to happen.  For there, in one of the rocking chairs was another person, seemingly well planted, for his belongings were comfortably resting next to him, and his phone was plugged into the outlet by the window charging.  Beside him was an empty rocking chair that beckoned.  The words came back to me as I approached the porch, “How are you going to reach others when you came alone?” Walking up the front steps of the porch, I asked the young man if the other chair was taken, to which he replied, “No.”

Thankful to find the shade of the large porch, I eased back into the weathered wood, that like a glove, embraced my weary soul.  Looking out at the town below, through the whispering breeze that blew the leaves on the trees, we two strangers sat.  For what seemed an eternity, we said nothing but continued to watch the world go by.  Eventually, the calm overtook me, and I had to speak, so I asked, “Beautiful day isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” he replied, nodding as he spoke.  His dreadlocks were a bungled flurry of contradiction.  He was not of traditional college age.  His eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses, so to fully grasp his demeanor was even more difficult.  Trying to think of how to approach one such as himself, I surmised his situation.  He appeared homeless and was using the porch as a temporary abode, but one shouldn’t judge others too quickly.

“I’m sorry, but I didn’t introduce myself.  My name’s Tim.”

“I’m Adrian.’

“Are you from around here,” I probed, not trying to be too personal.

“Yes and no.” He then bent over from his sitting position, reached into his backpack, and pulled out a cheese stick.  As he unwrapped it and began to chew on its sustenance, it became evident to me that my inability to share with him had manifested itself into his own realization of hunger.

Curious to understand what “Yes and no meant,” my questioning continued, like the seasoning on the meal before you begin to eat.  “Have you served in the military?”

“Yes, in the Navy.”

“I was in the Air Force,” I responded, and he shook his head in confirmation.  From there, it was as if a door had been opened.  Adrian shared with me, in broken terminologies, of what the world around him had become.  His life was dark and lonely.  When I asked what he did in the service, he said he couldn’t tell me.  Acknowledging that I understood, he continued on.  He said that the “Eaters” are revealed to him in his dreams.  When I asked for clarification, he pointed to the food we were just finishing.  It was still unclear what he meant, for his mind seemed to drift in and out of consciousness.  It seemed as if the soul in this man was battling demons that no one could see but him.

Thinking of a way to bring faith into the conversation, I asked a pretty bold question, “Do you read the Bible?”

“Do you,” he replied, almost in self-defense.  Granted, I deserved his response, but it made me take a step back about my own attitude.  How self-righteous of me to imply that he should read a book of my faith when in fact, he may belong to another religion entirely.

“Everyday,” was my answer, but now I was feeling almost guilty for putting him on the spot.  Thankfully, he continued.

“I couldn’t go to church for ten years while I was in the Navy,” he answered.  “Now they won’t even let me into their temples because I smell so bad.”

This was the confirmation that I had suspected of Adrian being homeless.  It was then that I realized he hadn’t asked for anything, no food, no money.  He simply needed rest and time to be himself.  It was as if he had allowed me to join him in his home for that brief moment in time.

“You don’t have to go to a church to worship the Lord.”

At this, he looked at me over his sunglasses with a curious glance, then I continued.

“Jesus spoke of the temple of his body, and that after the great temple was destroyed, the new temple is now our own bodies, in which God can dwell if we let him.”

Before I left him, I asked if he had any prayer requests.  He lifted with an outstretched arm, palm down, to the yard before us, as if he were calming the seas.  I didn’t understand the gesture entirely, except to mean that he wanted to pray for everything and everyone beyond where we existed.  Nevertheless, it touched me in a way that I hadn’t expected.

There, on a sunny afternoon, in what seemed like a wasted break from work, my world met someone of the world of those that fall through the cracks of our society.  Their lives are a cloud of confusion and darkness.  Most cannot find adequate help or refuse it for fear of being institutionalized.  Instead, they live off the support of charities and the kindness of strangers.  Me with my cup of self-righteousness, eating in front of a man that probably only got one meal every other day if he is lucky, was like those Pharisees who touted their own religiosity.  In retrospect, it was very humbling.

From what brother Richard taught us, when we are blessed with gifts of the Spirit, we should learn to use them to help those in the world around us.  If we do, we find that the fruits of the Spirit begin to manifest themselves.  Without using those gifts, those fruits, those trees become barren.  It is up to us to recognize those gifts and not let them lie dormant and waste away.

So, it was on that July day, there on the front porch, two strangers met.  A world in chaos met another seeking to help those out of chaos – each wanting to find a way to the other.

Before I left, I asked Adrian if I could pray for him.  He nodded yes.  When we finished praying, God indeed was listening, for something quite unexpected, at least on my part, happened.

Adrian said, “Thank you,”

As we said our goodbyes, the feeling that God had just done something in spite of myself seemed to echo my departing footsteps.

C.S. Lewis said, “A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save.”[1]

As we go through our days, let us not miss an opportunity to reach out to someone in need.  It isn’t always the material or the sustenance of organic goods that are needed, but simply the comfort and compassion of a loving heart are all that is required.

As the time of Thanksgiving approaches, once more, let us reflect on our many blessings.  At the same time, seek those who are less fortunate in this world, those who need comfort, or those who just need someone to talk to.  Share those gifts and give someone the fruits of your spirit.

It will make all the difference in the world.

Thanks be to God.


[1] Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Grandma’s Root Cellar

[The demon Screwtape writes:] The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.

Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future.

Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”[1]

Natural food storage | Root cellar, Farm life, Cellar

After reading this excerpt from C.S. Lewis recently, it made me think of how my family all had the habit of putting up food for the future. Now you might ask, “How does reading Lewis’s commentary on living in the moment and focusing on eternity make you think of preserving food?” Herein lies the story of how preparing for future meals and prepping to survive come what may, you can better appreciate these comments.

My grandparents all canned and put up food, so that’s where we, their offspring, learned those survival skills. Not only were they all from Agrarian backgrounds, but they were also of the generation that had survived the Depression. My paternal grandparents were especially devoted to this lifestyle, seeing as my dad had six siblings. More than anything, it was a labor of necessity. But there was one elder in particular that made it more than just about food.

Grandma Tron was always preparing for the future by what seemed like a never-ending job of canning, tending the garden, and toiling on the farm. Yet, each morning, there alone in her later years after grandpa had passed, sitting at the end of the table closest to the stove, she could be found; Bible open, studying God’s word by the dim, soft glow of light from the overhead bulb in her kitchen. Before the light of dawn had lit the hills beyond the farm’s pastures, she was already preparing for the coming day – alone with God. It wasn’t an act of canning; it was preparing for the next meal to eat. It was much more.

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you:” – John 6:27

Outside her kitchen window was the “Kitchen Garden.” There were the foods necessary to season and allow for more flavorful meals, in addition to those plants that had a shorter shelf life and required closer attention. The other main and much larger garden was across the pasture behind Ms. Wolf’s house. That was where the bulk crops – corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and all the other canned goods that required an army of workers to process-were located. Here, we found that deep rich topsoil, black, rich dirt that could grow anything if only you dropped the seed into its berth.

Like those two gardens, Grandma used that never-ending seasonal flow of life to guide and teach her children, and then eventually us multitude of grandkids. Like her Kitchen Garden, her tattered, worn Bible was always close by. Although it was present, we rarely saw her open it, for there was no need. Those words within that weathered binding were no longer captive within its cover, for they were planted deep within her heart. In those daily routines, where some would find mundane, tedious actions that repeated into infinity, there was the conversations, the sharing of life over the snapping of beans, or the peeling of potatoes. In those moments, as your hands became numb from holding the paring knife as you tried to keep up with grandma’s aged agile movements, the scriptures would emerge through words of encouragement and loving-kindness. It seemed like you could never peel as thin nor as fast, no matter how hard your focus. And as she worked, she spoke to us, entreating a sense of wholesomeness that was never found on a T.V. show or in a book, other than the one she kept nearby. Although you might struggle with the physical act of trying to imitate her agile yet succinctly purposeful labor, you didn’t realize that like that rich, deep topsoil of the garden, we too were being implanted with something far greater. As she would tell us the words of Jesus, “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.”

As we lived in the present so long ago, we prepared for a future we did not know. Yet, through those agricultural experiences, we learned that planning and preparing for the future lessened the sense of worry of what was to come. Knowing that down in the root cellar, where we stored the canned goods, the potatoes, dried herb, and spices, there was a sense of accomplishment mixed with a feeling of security. So, while we worked with grandma, learning those agrarian skills, we also learned how to prepare for another future – a life eternal.  Likewise, in our hearts, we knew that if we allowed Him in, God was with us, giving us a sense of security like no other.

In that comfort of knowing for what we had collectively prepared, there seemed to be a never-ending supply. Each time we would go to visit grandpa and grandma Tron, we never left empty-handed. There was always that last trip down into the earthen root cellar beneath the back porch. There grandma would load us up with armloads of that delicious bounty from the warmer months. As we piled into the car to leave, crowded in amongst the jars of canned peaches, green beans, and corn, we felt as if part of our grandparents were with us. Waving goodbye, as we passed beneath those ancient oaks and sycamores that lined their short, curved driveway, one never thought that it would never end.

As time passed, so did those countless gardens. Like the autumn of life, the fields grew brown and withered. The seasons of harvest had ended, and the Lord eventually called our grandparents home. Grandma finally joined grandpa; their bodies were laid to rest up there in Maple Hill Cemetery, just over the holler from Sled Hill. Yet, while their physical remains have an ending point, their lives had only just begun. Somewhere in that land that is fairer than day, they will await us that received their counsel. Someday, with open arms, they will greet us in that Heavenly home. Like those tearful goodbyes off the tattered back porch of the humble farmhouse on the edge of New Harmony, there will someday be a joyful reunion that will surpass in feeling all of those emotions but in a joyous regard on the steps of that house of many mansions on high.

As the sun crests the ridge of the mountain this morning, that vision of that humble kitchen table with its worn Bible once more comes to mind. Across the decades, those lessons resonate even more today. In the moment of the past, where we prepared for a future in eternity, the seeds of faith had been planted, and with those tiny grains of hope, eternal life was given. Sitting around that battered kitchen table, we found peace in the present as we heard about how to find a life in time without end.

Like going down into grandma’s root cellar, we can reach into our hearts and retrieve those words which the Lord hath given. Live each day as if you are preparing for eternity, and let tomorrow worry about tomorrow. We have but one life to live here on earth. Make the most of what you have been given, and may your root cellar be filled to overflowing so that you may share with any and all who come in need.

In all these things, we can say with Blessed Assurance, “Thanks be to God.”


[1] The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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An Unexpected Friend

The brain is considered to be the primary generator and regulator of emotions; however, afferent signals originating throughout the body are detected by the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and brainstem, and, in turn, can modulate emotional processes.”[1]

There were blue patches between the clouds as the sunrise sought to find a hole through which to shine. As my footsteps reached the landing behind Anne-Belk Hall to start my morning run, raindrops began to fall. The warmth of the season was still distant, but the air, humid and close, was welcoming, so the sparse rainfall was likewise a comfort.

Belk Library – Appalachian State University

Running on campus is not one of my favorite locations. It is much more visually rewarding and inspiring to find oneself on those trails leading up our nearby mountains. Yet, today was a short day, so the pavement and sidewalks of the urban jungle were my forests this morning. As is my new tradition, I began quoting the Gospel of John as my legs began to propel me forward. Yesterday’s run was still lingering in these old joints, but the joy of finding oneself welcoming the dawn while in the Word is something to behold. So, pushing on, the words began to overwhelm the pain, and soon it was more of an emotion, the spirit, if you will, carrying me onward.

The sentences laced together like a vine weaving its way up a majestic oak until these words escaped my lips, “Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.”[2] At that moment, just before me, was a young man running in my direction, smiling broadly. At first, it appeared that he might know me, so welcoming was his smile. My eyes searched the face but could not place it. As he drew close, he said, “Mind if I join you?”

“No, not at all,” was my reply. We were just opposite the street from Stick Boy Bakery.

He turned around and began running alongside me on the sidewalk. I quickly introduced myself, and he said his name was Max. I mentioned to him that he caught me in chapter 2, and so I repeated the verse in which he had suddenly appeared. When I got to the line, “But he spake of the temple of his body,” my new friend literally leaped as if he had just hurdled over a log in the path. “Wow, I was just meditating on just such a philosophical aspect of training; how the body and the mind are connected. Keeping the body fit helps the mind remain active, alert, and able to grow.” He looked at me with wild eyes in amazement at the confirmation and the rarity of occasion that someone had spoken of something upon which he too had been thinking.

Likewise, as he spoke, my mind was trying once more to wrap around the Godly coincidence to which I had been afforded. “Where does that come from,” my new friend asked, with regard to the scripture.

“Chapter 2 of the Gospel of John,” came my measured breath as we made our way up the hill toward Daniel Boone Inn.

“What’s that,” he asked?

In my mind, the words, “OH MY LORD,” were screaming, followed by, “Thank you, Jesus, for sending me someone to whom I could share this morning.”

At this point, I want to stop and make a point.

No matter where we go, no matter what our course of trajectory the day’s plans take us, we should always be ready to give an account of the Gospel. 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Earlier in the week, it became apparent that I was going through one of those despondent episodes of sanctification; whereby, you find it challenging to remain in the spirit, and God seems to be ignoring you. This sense of being alone seemed to convey something I recently read about what C.S. Lewis wrote, “The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise, when they go, and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.”[3]

And so, as my new friend began to chime in with his interpretations, it became apparent that God had created the calm before the storm. How much more remarkable is the dramatic production when there is a sequence of acts in which little to nothing happens before the climaxing scene? For in these moments, the tension slowly builds so that it has a greater impact upon the senses when the dramatic conclusion erupts. The same was the case on this particular day so that as the sun was slowly rising above the distant mountainside, in the dusk of those shadowed roadways, a day full of fellowship, sharing, and evangelism had just begun.

As we continued our way up King Street, heading south, Max mentioned how Rappers, with all of their gold jewelry, were saying that, yes, all of this was nothing compared to being here and now, to the legitimacy of life regardless of wealth and pleasure. Some of the things he related to scripture were very strange, and repeatedly I had to ask him what he meant. He would then reword his comments until they were along the same lines of language that I could follow, for it seemed as if we were from different planets regarding how he spoke and to what I could comprehend. The voice of today’s youth, imparted upon by the worldly attributes of music, social media, and video, lends to another realm of interpretation that I never cease to stop learning – it is ever-changing. To reach this generation, we must learn to speak in their voice, as strange and foreign as it may sound.

The farther we ran, the more it sounded as if my new friend was speaking from a background of faith, but it was difficult to fully know, so relegated were his words in that alternate word speak of his. When he got to the point where he mentioned how we were like beings surrounded by dark forces, it triggered my thoughts, and from my mouth, like a well springing up into eternal life, the scriptures of John 1 began to flow, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Max remarked how what he just heard was so powerful and true. He went on to continue to speak in his own words the scripture he had just received. Knowing that this was his way of comprehending, I remained mostly silent and listened, correcting by suggestion only when he had completely fallen off track.

By now, we were making our way back to my office, moving up Howard Street toward Peacock Hall, the School of Business. Our conversation was moving along faster, especially since that stretch of roadway went downhill, affording my lungs the extra space with which to literally gasp for air. Max continued to seek more of what he had heard, and as time would allow, we continued to cover as much as possible. But before we knew it, we were standing back at the base of Ann-Belk Hall. It seemed as if our train had abruptly pulled into the station, and for a moment, we stood staring at one another, wondering if we wanted to get off or not. Feeling like this was one of those moments where Jesus had said, “Herein is not the saying true, one soweth and another reapeth,” it was difficult to say goodbye so soon. God had provided an opportunity, and it was in that instance of time that He allowed me to share with one that was ready to receive.

So often, when we feel as if nothing is happening in our spiritual lives, God is there, working out something in the background. In times of isolation and quiet, we must remind ourselves that He is preparing a way even when we feel like we are disconnected. When those periods of isolation seem to be a deafening roar of silence, focus on what you can control; like your own being. Like the temple of the body to which Jesus had meant, we must remain mindful of how we treat this vessel. Not only should we think in the manner of things to which we ingest, both materially and spiritually, but how we care for in our physical strength. Not only should our bodies be kept whole through consumption but also through activity. If we care for what God has endowed us with, how much greater will be our ability to focus on Him because of a strong mind and body?

Lastly, keep in mind that seeds are planted at the times we least suspect.

Remember to always carry your parcel of seeds with you, for you never know when God will break the ground and ready the soil for planting.

Continue always in prayer and supplication for that day when the time is right, when those prayers are answered or when you are asked to step up and speak His word.

Thanks be to God.


[1] Jerath R, Crawford MW. How Does the Body Affect the Mind? Role of Cardiorespiratory Coherence in the Spectrum of Emotions. Adv Mind Body Med. 2015 Fall;29(4):4-16. PMID: 26535473.

[2] John 2:20-21 KJV

[3] The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Alone – but Not Alone

My dear friend Richard’s wife, Ann Ruffin, passed away a couple of days ago. We all knew it was coming. Her terminal illness had been prolonged by Richard’s total commitment to her well-being. He had told me that being her primary caregiver was his mission in life.

Richard Hines Jr., Dennis Tracy, and I at Hebron Falls, 2021

In this time of mourning, part of me wants to reach out to my friend, to seek to help in this time of loss. Yet, another part of me tells myself, “What can you do? Richard is 86 years old. What can you do for him that he can’t already do for himself?”

Then the voice inside says, “Sometimes, all someone needs is just another person to be in the room with them, silent, but aware, saying nothing at all.”

When C.S. Lewis was grieving the loss of his wife, whom he called H., he wrote these lines, “At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.[1]

From those last few words, “If only they would talk to one another and not to me,” my feeling of wanting to go sit and be with my friend, saying no words, just being in his presence, impress upon my thoughts.

Likewise, we often misunderstand the Holy Spirit. As Lewis wrote in another article, “The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise, when they go and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.”[2]

God knows infinitely more than we will ever begin to understand. “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.”[3] So it is that when he sends the Comforter to us, it will be in ways and in our presence that we comprehend the least. It will be like a silent friend sitting with you in a room with the air as still as a morgue. The only evidence of life is the faint sound of the wall clock ticking in the next room. Time passing, as we too shall someday.

If we genuinely seek to be like God, to walk with Christ, then we too shall understand how sometimes fewer words, or no words, speak volumes more than some of the greatest speeches presented in all of humanity. Our nature is to seek the companionship of others. Mistakenly, we sometimes think we have to spew empty clichés when wanting to console our friends and loved ones in their time of loss. But we are only speaking the reflection of our own empathetic prose. When we find ourselves alone without another being in our presence, it is then, in this void of humanness, that we find we are truly not alone. If we believe in God and know Him, we find that we need others less. Yet, we also find that when other believers are with us, His presence increases. Does Jesus not say in scripture, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them?”[4]

As C.S. Lewis wrote in the grasp of his grieving, he was shaken to his core because of the loss of his dear H. Through his words, we can find a Christian in pain, seeking consolation. Howbeit he, Lewis, being an intellect, it must have been evident to him, either then or later in life, how much more he needed God’s comforting hands upon him. We can read how he sought others in those lines of text, yet he didn’t want their words, only their bodily presence. In this light, we can feel how Lewis, either knowingly or unknowingly, craved the Holy Spirit to come into his life. Yet, there is a part of me that says he might not have fully comprehended the complexity to which his grief had confounded his thoughts, to the point, he sought that which had gone, but in truth, was only passed from this life to the next.

We are but vapors in this life, here for a moment. We will someday spend the rest of this life in eternity. Where we spend it is up to us. When a loved one passes on, if we know of their faith in Christ, if they had received the gift of salvation by the Grace of God, we can then be more than assured, yes, we can be sure that they are there in the presence of the Lord and the host of angels waiting for the day when we arrive.

Pray for my dear friend and his family in their time of loss, but let us also praise God for bringing home another daughter in Christ.

In all these ways, let us say, “Thanks be to God.”


[1] A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. All rights reserved.

[2] The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. 

[3] John 14:16 KJV

[4] Matthew 18:20 KJV

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Letting Go

In life, when we look to God for answers, sometimes the answers don’t come from our own thoughts but rather are provided for us through other means.

During our weekly hikes, there is always conversation that enlightens and inspires. But yesterday, as our journey led us along the cascading sounds of Hebron Falls, the words of my friend floated into my heart like those whispering echoes of droplets spraying against the rocks below. My hiking buddy Richard, who will turn 86 in just three months, was reflecting on how God was redirecting, changing the course of his life. He then described the feeling of slowly being stripped of all those things that had seemed so important, leaving him with a focus unlike ever before. As he spoke, he described the feeling of riding a horse bare-back – no harness, no saddle, just he and the horse.

Hebron Falls, Boone Fork Trail, BlueRidge Parkway, NC.

In my mind, I could see my daughter so many years ago, riding her pony up the hill on our farm back in Chatham County. She and her steed were flying against the backdrop of the fencing that ran along the driveway. With her arms outstretched, head slightly leaning back, she was free, flying along at the top speed of her pony Sugar. The sight of them momentarily took my breath away – the instincts of a parent, momentarily froze as we say that silent prayer of protection. Together, they imparted into my soul what it was to fully trust and that sense of freedom to which it provided.

Richard’s description yesterday of being freed from all bondage of this world’s distractions, although I’m not certain that he meant distractions but possibly earthly connections, resonated within me something that I wanted to reconsider and perhaps write about. While these thoughts were bouncing around in my head, another one of God’s wonders happened.

This morning when reading as part of my daily devotional, a passage from C.S. Lewis came up. It was as if God had been listening and wanted to chime in and add to our conversation.

To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body? These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world- shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else— since He has retained His own charger—should we accompany Him?[1]

It seems as if we can never cease to learn that God has intended for us to continually strive to understand and adapt to how we are to better serve him in this life. Learning to intentionally remove, or as in more often is the case, finding that He, through divine intervention, is slowly removing the unnecessary baggage to which we cling, we come to a greater realization of our purpose in this life. Giving it all to God literally can bring the feeling of riding a horse at full-gallop, bare-back, at the mercy of that which we cannot control.

We are saved by God’s grace, not by anything we can do of ourselves. It is through this undeserving grace that we may have eternal life. Our natural tendency is to grab onto things of this world through which we think we find comfort. When we realize that those worldly things are merely false idols, we naturally want to turn away from everything. It is this shrinking away from those things to which we are lured into sin that we must learn to control and willingly, with God’s help, learn to refuse. It is this strength within, this fortitude of character, to which we can then learn to strengthen our soul. By this conditioning of the soul, our spirit becomes enriched so that we become better horsemen, if you will. This preparation is a lifelong endeavor, enabling us to then, when our time on earth has ended, to join our Lord and Savior, at those stables on high, where together, we will ride in spiritual bodies, majestic steeds unlike any we would have known here on earth.

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”- 1 Cor.15:44

My friend, as you read this text, my prayer for you is that God will speak into your life and open your eyes to the pathway that leads to life eternal. May you find that the Lord, once you seek Him, and he will begin to change your life. I pray that those things which once occupied all of your time and energy, those negative things to which brought no reward other than their earthly pleasures or momentary satisfaction, will begin to fall away and that in so doing, you find a greater purpose with which to live.

Prayer and supplication are the beginnings of drawing closer to the Lord. Do not make the mistake of turning away from all things spiritual when the going gets difficult. Learn to control your spiritual body so that it will continue to grow and become better horsemen of that figurative pony.

Your heavenly steed patiently awaits.

The King of all kings and his charger are ready to ride. The decision is yours to make.

Thanks be to God.


[1] Miracles: A Preliminary Study. Copyright 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1947

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To Catch a Shooting Star

by Timothy W. Tron, Nov. 2020

C.S. Lewis wrote, “A blind man has few friends; a blind man who has recently received his sight as, in a sense, none. He belongs neither to the world of the blind nor to that of the seeing, and no one can share his experience. After that night’s conversations, Robin never mentioned to anyone his problem about light. He knew that he would only be suspected of madness. When Mary took him out the next day for his first walk he replied to everything she said, “It’s lovely – all lovely. Just let me drink it in,” and she was satisfied. She interpreted his quick glances as glances of delight. In reality, of course, he was searching, searching with a hunger that had already something of desperation in it. Even had he dared, he knew it would be useless to ask her of any of the objects he saw, “Is that light?” He could see for himself that she would only answer, “No. That’s green” (or “blue”, or “yellow”, or “a field”, or “a tree”, or “a car”). Nothing could be done until he had learned to go for walks by himself.”[1]

Appalachian State University, November, 2020 – photo by Timothy W. Tron

Walking aimlessly about, yesterday found me wanting to breathe spiritually, to take a break from the self-imposed incarceration – chiseling away at the stone within the rock quarry of intellect. In that temporary reprieve, a young man of interest crossed my path. He is a true savant, and at the same time, he’s a broken being, by the world’s standards. For sake of privacy, I will call him Ephraim.

Ephraim is only a high-school-aged student but is attending ASU. His disability, if you can call it that, is Autism. While he is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, it’s effect upon his countenance is obvious. In his daily walk, he is as one that has just received his sight – he has no former friends and has yet to make new friends in this new world in which he has been thrust. It doesn’t help that he walks about often talking to himself and exhibiting the quirks of his gift to the extent others stand off to the side and make comments to one another, reprising the scene before them, thankful they’re not in his shoes. Yet, his burden, as some would suggest, is his blessing. Ephraim flourishes in the world of numbers, and analytical paradigms. In this environment, he is in his element. He has a drive, a hunger unmatched by his rivals. The enthusiasm which he exudes is like that of a burning, shining comet – flaming across the heavens. We observers of this glorious creation are reminded of the double-edged sword for which God often uses us in his life – one is the obvious blessing, the other is the hidden meaning.

For, as a new believer, Ephraim goes forth with much eagerness to seek that which is pure. To him, all the curriculum through which he is presented each day are as flashes of light. To his peers, they are an unending continuum of procedures, methods, and programs. If one were to tell Ephraim otherwise, they would only hear him evoke how marvelous their purpose and what other variations they produce in his spinning world of intelligence. His mind, like that flashing comet in the sky, races from one idea to the next. All we can do is try to grasp the tail of the phenomena and for a moment, feel the magnificence of God’s glory, even upon one so challenged in this world.

Ephraim was looking for the lost and found. Yea, how relevant was this statement at that moment, for as we walked, one had to ask, “Is he a believer, or is he seeking – is he lost or is he found?” Not knowing the answer to Ephraim’s question, I offered to join him in searching for the physical “Lost and Found.”

“It’s near the coffee shop, someone told me,” he said as we began to walk with purpose toward his assumed destination.

“Oh, ok. I’ve never seen it myself, so I guess we’re going to learn together.”

Therein the statement of profoundness overwhelms me as the words slip through my fingers onto the keyboard and onto the screen before me. Being content to, “not think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith,[2] should be in our forethoughts each second of every waking moment of our daily lives.

As we walked and talked, Ephraim mentioned a paraphrased quote from C.S. Lewis that had impacted him recently. To one seeking for other believers, there are certain keywords that offer clues as to the mind of those around us. The words, “C.S. Lewis,” instantly gave me hope that Ephraim was either a believer or was seeking answers. As God would have it, earlier that morning I had read the passage presented earlier in this piece. As my mind began to grasp that meaning and its relevance for the moment, a sudden dawning washed over me; Ephraim was possibly as one with the blind man – either from the natural perspective or as the spiritual, each imploring the beauty in the endless opportunities with which to rejoice in the creation around us, which so many of us take for granted each day, to that which we have consoled our minds to accept as the accepted description rather than the unspoken name for which only God knows the answer. To people like Ephraim, the instantaneous revelation of light, that inspirational spark of the moment, excite them and encourage them without need for an end. They are lifted up so that they are unable to understand the discouraged amazement of those in their presence.

As Ephraim listened, which was somewhat unaccustomed to his demeanor, I began to expand upon the Lewis passage. It is important to note that his professors find him challenging as a student since because of his gift, he cannot curb his joy and speaks incessantly. As one may imagine, this also puts him at odds with his fellow classmates. However, at that time, my thought was as only God would have it, toward another meaning of the passage that impressed upon me – the obvious allusion to light and color, and how this can speak to us through a faith lens. As Ephraim listened while we walked back to my office, my presentation included the science of light and how it relates to that of the Computer Science realm of study; an attempt of mine to keep things relevant to Ephraim without scaring him off. Mind you, at the moment, and still, do not know the true nature of his mind. So, with caution, my seed planting ensued. It was in my office, as we shared drink and crackers, the words of John 1 slipped from my lips – “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”[3] Ephraim accepted the word without flinching, which was an encouragement, and we continued onward as he responded with his own account of the resultant destination, that of programming in a linear format, moving the memory pointer as needed, without using registers or stacks. In other words, he was framing God’s words with a memory location of his own, so that through a serial aspect, he would recall that someday and move his pointer to its location and recall it as needed. Looking back at the moment, it was almost surreal watching God work through Ephraim’s beautiful mind, allowing this child to understand like no other.

In all, the verse, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,”[4] resonated once more. While we cannot anymore control the future, we must be prepared to change and adapt to be ready to give a witness to them around us. The youth of today are not of the same as our own generation. We must understand their perceived meanings of God’s word are as varied as our own, and in this manner, we should not be dismayed or distracted. Isaiah 29:14 says it like this, “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”[5] As our generation passes from this world into that of eternal life, we must find those whom we may pass on the word, for as the psalmist wrote, “the truth endureth to all generations.” In that manner, our own words, our individual understanding may be at odds with them that come afterward. We must find a way to speak to them so that they can relate without putting them off at the same time. Likewise, we must be prepared to hear interpretations that might not be from a perspective of our own. Yet, as we listen, we should also be prepared to direct as God would have us. In another way of speaking, we should ready our minds to hear their perspective of what we know, and through that, guide them to the truth, lest they become lost in the weeds.

Once in a great while, we happen upon something in this world so remarkable, so breathtaking, that we are literally dumbfounded. Sometimes that beauty is a cascading waterfall, roaring a thousand voices as if it were a host of heavenly beings. Other times, the glory emanates from the face of a newborn child, whose innocence and purity remind us of one who knew no sin but died for ours. And then there are times, when we meet that individual that, not by any fault of their own, exhibits an unnatural ability with which only God could ordain. In all, it should remind us that we are aliens herein – only passing through.

Those flashes of light, those shooting stars, those brilliant rays of hope are here but for an instant and then they are gone.

With them, those child prodigies, take our breath away, and in that instantaneous vacuum, we can feel the presence of God. It is in these fleeting opportunities, like the passing of two ships in the night, we must be prepared to give an answer to them that ask, a witness to them that seek, and a light unto the world. “For he that doeth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest which are wrought in God.”[6]

Thanks be to God.


[1] The Dark Tower: And Other Stories. Copyright © 1977 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

[2] Romans 12:3 KJV

[3] Psalm 63:3

[4] Romans 12:2 KJV

[5] Isaiah 29:14 KJVß

[6] John 3:21 KJV

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Choose Wisely

by Timothy W. Tron, Nov. 2020

A winding mountain road is the life I live. If living were a straight road, with nary a curve, never a hill, nor a bump what a sorrowful experience it would have been. With each twist, the unexpected arrives – some good, many challenging, and some sorrowful. From breathtaking vistas to cattle grazing in verdant green pastures, there is never a bend in the road that doesn’t reveal another blessing to be alive. All make living one of not our own doing, but in that regard, give testimony to our Creator. By the guiding hand of God, we are kept between the lines. When trials come, they mold our character, develop our patience, and gather our soul into that which becomes better for the perils through which we survived.

Much like the barren, time-worn tree that stands on an outcropping of rocks on a high mountain peak, it too tells a story of a life well-lived. The harshness of existence created a cracked and foreboding skin, that with each crevice is a wrinkle in the tale of its life. Its weathered continence exudes the wisdom within. Whether the twisting road of life or the desolate, weary tree, we are the product of the tribulations which formed us in the fire.

As the seasons change, so do those of our own. From our youth to the nearing of the end of one’s time, and all those many seasons in between, there are countless moments when we could have stopped and considered the moment for what it was. Too often, we allow that fleeting opportunity to give thanks to pass us by before we are chasing the next falling leaf from the tree above. If only we had the peace of mind to stop and cherish those brief respites. Instead, the foliage spirals down into the bed of so many other fallen leaves before it, they all form a collection of memories upon a pallet of life. Their myriad of color, the complexities of those moments in time, each connected through the thread of our being. If one were to connect these, as one might think a pathway is built, their course would intertwine, fold upon one another, and intersect into a countless number of likelihoods. An image of such would look like what scientists have concluded our own immutable DNA resembles. Memory, our collective past, intertwined like the branches of a forest, is the only lasting reward, or curse, that one can carry with them in this world, no matter your position in life. Those memories are a culmination of life’s choices to that which we have been afforded – they can be our heaven or hell.

As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Every choice reduces a little one’s freedom to choose the next time. There therefore comes a time when the creature is fully built, irrevocably attached either to God or to itself. This irrevocableness is what we call Heaven or Hell. Every conscious agent is finally committed in the long run: i.e., it rises above freedom into willed, but henceforth unalterable, union with God, or else sinks below freedom into the black fire of self-imprisonment.”[1]

From the beginning, man was allowed choices, also known as free will. It was in this context that sin came into the world, not necessarily as a choice to do evil, for there was no evil in the world at that point, but rather was as a decision to make himself equal or greater than God. In essence, it was pride that brought the fall of man, not evil. “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.[2] Satan used man’s own pride to sequester his thoughts into a path that took him to the darkness of man’s soul.

Choices led Judas Iscariot to sell his Savior’s identity for thirty pieces of silver which ultimately led to the trial, and crucifixion of Christ. Choices led David to invite Bathsheba into his bed-chamber, which led to the death of the resultant child and his sons. Choices led Moses to strike the rock in anger which led to his being excluded from being allowed to enter the Holy Land. Time and time again, we see how erred judgment on the part of man resulted in predicaments that could have been avoided had they chose wisely. Each time we allow Satan to enter into our decision making, our minds are contorted into the culpability of choosing on the side of this terrestrial being, rather than on the side of how it affects our life eternal.

As much as we have the ability to choose wrong, we have the same capability to choose right. Though our life’s journey need not be a long course of bad memories, there are hopefully more of the singular instances of hope and light that permeate through the fog of reminiscence than the former. As those thoughts allow us to build upon the past, we must realize that going forward, we have the foresight to become greater than of ourselves, again, if we choose wisely. A life eternal is in the balance. To be tied to an earthly being or to be one with a risen Savior, that guarantees life eternal – this is the only choice in this life that really matters. You can go on living as one that perceives there is “no tomorrow,” or you can start to live a life in preparation for one eternal – the choice is yours.

Some believe they are too far gone. They feel they are beyond the grasp of God’s forgiveness of sins. Many feel their sin is greater than Christ’s ability to forgive – but they couldn’t be more wrong. We serve a risen Savior that died for our sins, even before we existed so that all that come to him might be saved. It is never too late to seek Him.

While we chase after those swirling entities that entice us to forget the thankfulness and forget that we can be forgiven, we must force ourselves to take pause and know that, “God hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pastures.[3] Like those winding country roads that passeth through the highlands of the Blueridge, we cannot know what lies ahead. The afternoon shadows pass upon the landscape, one that passes from autumn into winter. The seasons change regardless if we are ready for them to do so or not. In time, we realize our helplessness in that we cannot control all those things that in our youth we believed were within our command. The decisions which we hath made, we must now live with until our road’s end. No matter how bad they were, they can be forgiven. When you ask Christ to come into your life, your journey’s end on earth is only the beginning of the rest of your life. It is this destination that should help you decide how you will travel the remainder of the journey in time that remains.

Choose wisely, your soul’s eternal life depends on it.

Thanks be to God.


[1] Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

[2] Proverbs 16:17-8 KJV

[3] Psalm 100:3

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A Mind Numbing Run…

It’s funny how when you are running, the thoughts of past runs or events of those times come back to mind. As it was this evening, as the faint light of winter played through the barren canopy overhead, my thoughts rambled back to another winter, another time. Then, the John’s river wasn’t flowing along my pathway as it was tonight, but rather the busy four-lane road going into Milton Florida.

I had been blessed by the company I worked for, to be able to work remotely for a couple weeks while I stayed with my mother who was in the final stages of terminal cancer. Although my job consisted of working nights, it was a time that gave me moments to sit with her when either I had come in from those long, brutal 3rd shift hours or was preparing to head off for another night. The in-between times, when there was strength, I would go for runs, for no other reason than to clear my head and think. In between runs, we spent her waking moments talking, working on her mailbox (the last project we ever worked on together), and watching Hallmark movies. It was bittersweet. The shell of the vibrant woman I had known all my life was nearly gone, her body withered to almost nothing, the skeletal remains were apparent, but within her the desire to live another day kept her going; that and her unending faith.

Seeing her like that made me want to work on my own physical being, as much as my spiritual. So, when she was sleeping, and I had enough sleep of my own, I would go for a run.

Many years before, when my life was at a different stage, I was allowed to train as a walk-on with the UF Cross Country team. Their training regimen was far more intense than I eventually could manage as a full-time engineering student and part-time lightning research technician. However, those few months that I was afforded the opportunity, I learned and experienced many new things; one of which was the cold bath treatment following those brutal speed workouts. After beating your body to a pulp, when the legs were like lead weights, you went into the bath or sauna room. There large pools of either hot or cold water awaited. The medical intent was to slow the hemorrhaging of your muscles so that they could heal more quickly after being torn to shreds; thus, allowing the recovery to ensue more quickly. This method of alternating between hot and cold pools was an amazing natural treatment.

Yet, in the real world, we rarely, if ever, find such an oasis of specific working out apparatus. At my mother’s home, there was only the winterized swimming pool, which was not heated. However, that winter, my mind was sometimes as numb as my legs following those runs. Again, they weren’t to train for any race or goal, they became my way to cope with what I was witnessing; seeing a parent leave you, one breath at a time. Yet, while it was surely a blessing to be with my mother as she prepared to pass from this life to the next, it was hard, and as such, the pain became the motivation to push my body harder during the runs. Afterward, shattered, tired and worn, I would wade into the nearly frozen pool and relive those college days of the cold tub; the body below my waist would chill to the point I could no longer feel anything. It was as if that part of my body had died, but was still with me. It was then that God was speaking to me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, that he was telling me this was where I was headed; the separation of the previous life.

In scripture, we find Jesus telling his disciples, over and over again, that to truly follow him, we must leave everything behind. Paul reminded us of this fact when he said that we must die to our former selves, become numb to that previous life. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”-2 Corinthians 5:17 After we have repented and received Him, we find things begin to change in our lives. As we progress in the faith, we find that things of this world begin to lose their splendor. The feel, touch, and senses begin to need less. Our desire to satisfy the flesh no longer drives who we are, rather, we are driven by the Holy Spirit within, the one that beckons us to a new life.

If we were to wade into a nearly frozen river, the sting of the icy water around our flesh would at first present our physical being with a shock, but with time, the flesh would numb to the touch, and we would no longer feel the world in which we stood. Much like our walk in faith, as we find our sanctification through Christ, we learn to experience the world in the same manner. The sensual feelings are still there, but they no longer drive us, they no longer determine our path, but rather, our path is determined by Him. We can enjoy those earthly pleasures, but only to the point that we appreciate them being God’s blessing to us, for they are only momentary glimpses of what is to come. C.S Lewis described God’s natural blessings, the world around us, as mere snowdrops of miracles when compared to all that would and could occur in our Christian walk, knowing that someday, we will experience Heaven. In comparing, he wrote about Jesus walking on the water being of the New Creation, “That momentary glimpse was a snowdrop of a miracle. The snowdrops show that we have turned the corner of the year. Summer is coming. But it is a long way off, and snowdrops do not last long.”[1]

Mother is gone now, no longer with us here on earth. Her new home is that of the New Creation, Heaven above, a place where walking on water is allowed, and the senses are awakened to another reality we have yet to know.

My life changed dramatically following that winter. I too would leave everything behind to follow Him. Those nearly frozen, numb legs would be the beginning of my awakening. Eventually, all of me would feel that sensation of no longer needing the satisfaction of this world as my walk with Christ would become a way of life. There would be journeys to places I had never envisioned, experiences that only God could create, and new comprehensions of an ever-changing journey upon which I have chosen. Eventually, my full immersion would occur in that river along which I ran tonight, as I was Baptized in the faith. The circle had been made complete.

It’s odd how running can take you so many places when you really only set out to run just a couple of miles, and you wind up traveling much, much more; through time.

The river continues to flow, as time continues to march on. Each day we are one heartbeat closer to eternity. The questions I must ask, “Are you ready?” “Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?” To find that New Creation, that eternal home on high, we must, “Repent, Receive, and Regenerate into a new being,” as George Whitefield so famously preached, regarding being born again.

It’s not too late, do not wait another day. You never know when today may be your last.

Run while you can, life is short, and eternity with Him awaits.

Thanks be to God.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”-Romans 6:4

[1] C.S. Lewis, “Miracles”, A Preliminary Study, 1947, Harper Collins.

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