The Raven Revisited

Gold featherI have always been an avid reader and have always liked the work of Edgar Allen Poe. I was reading his famous “The Raven” some time back and thought about how dark it was. Yes, I know he was lamenting his loss of Lenore, but it was so bleak. So, I rewrote it from a Christian perspective.  Here it below: “The Raven Revisited.”

Once upon my life so dreary, while I wondered weak and weary,
Over many a squandered chance of lost opportunity yore,
While I staggered, strength sapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my cold heart’s door.
`’Tis some mournful feeling,’ I muttered, `tapping at my cold heart’s door –
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I remember it was my soul’s dark December,
And my depression a dark amber wrought its light upon the floor.
Eagerly searched I relief of sorrow; – loneliness like wasteland yarrow.
From my deeds, smoke of a claro – sorrow for a life abhorred –
For the rare and radiant prospect whom the angels all once adored –
Useless here for evermore.

Downtrodden my spirit hurtin’ dark as the color of rare aged burton
Thrilled me – filled me with final feelings never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`’Tis some specter entreating entrance at my cold heart’s door –
Some unknown specter seeking entrance at my cold heart’s door; –
This it is, and nothing more,’

Presently my soul grew weaker; straining at the voice of the speaker,
`Sir,’ said He, “You must seek forgiveness for sins performed before;
But the fact is you were napping, when the Spirit came a rapping,
And so kindly He came tapping, tapping at your heart’s door,
Oh, great Spirit kind I hear you’ – here I opened wide the door; –
Brilliantness there, and so much more.

Deep into that brightness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams I, mortal never dared to dream before;
But the silence now was broken, and the radiance of love awoken,
And the glorious word there spoken was the wonderful word, `Adore!’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Adore!’
“Intensely love” and so much more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me yearning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely fact is my lonely life has so lacked this;
Let me see then, what practice, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the Spirit and so much more!’

Open here I flung my moral sense, with examination to recompense,
In my soul stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
With all Godly obeisance made he; resident stopped and stayed he;
All, with mien of the Lord prayed he, entered he into my heart’s door –
Entered he a heart so callous just inside my warm heart’s door –
Entered and resident forevermore.

Then this golden bird compiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the splendid and fine decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be grand engraven, thou,’ I said, `thou art sure a haven.
Stately and ancient raven directly from the bright morning shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Day’s Heavenly shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Forevermore.’

Much I marveled this splendid fowl to hear discourse so candid,
Though its answer commanded – great relevancy bore;
For I could not help agreeing that any forlorn human being
Is set free by just receiving the Spirit within his heart so sore –
Freedom explodes within the accepting weary heart so sore,
With such name as `Forevermore.’

And the raven, sitting bold he to my living soul, told he,
That one word, as if his being in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Others you have yet saved before?
Of my sorrow relieved me, as my hopes have not soared before.’
Then the bird said, `Forevermore.’

Startled at the sadness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters I will take stock and store,
Flown from his Happy Master whom a merciful dream caster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs release burden bore –
Till the dirges of his hope freed within me all burden bore
Of “Forever-evermore.”‘

Now the raven a stately piling set my glad soul now so flying,
I wheeled a cart and danced within my soul like never once before;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this grandiose bird of yore –
What this glad, gainly, ghostly, gaily, and promising bird of yore
Meant in stately `Forevermore.’

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the capon whose loving eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
He shall press, ah, forevermore!

Then, me thought, my mind grew clearer, from the fog as from a mirror,
Removed by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Salvation,’ I cried, `my God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee
Freedom- freedom meant He, from sure damnation bore!
Freedom from the chains of past sins my soul damnation bore!’
Quoth the raven, `Forevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `of souls retrieval! – prophet still, of hell’s upheaval! –
The throne of emerald rainbow came thee to settle this one score,
Desolate my soul undaunted, a desert land disenchanted –
Prospect of hell  horror haunted – once yes, but no more –
There is – there is balm in Gilead? – He is glorious Heaven’s door!’
Quoth the raven, `Forevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `of souls retrieval! – prophet still, of hell’s upheaval!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
A once dead spirit now awaken, a different road I now am taken
Of this salvation no mistaken, Jesus to whom the angels kneel before –
Not angels only but all creation and mankind shall all kneel before.’
Quoth the raven, `Forevermore.’

At that word light dream defying, with echo of saints glorifying –
Shaken from the night’s vision and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
On bed a gold plume as a token of the truth to soul was spoken!
My thought train still unbroken! – of the raven, salvation galore!
Life to my heart, a new creation of salvation of truth not lore!’
Quoth the raven, `Forevermore.’

And the raven, voice committing, in mind and heart, still is sitting
Whether dream imagined or somehow real from heaven’s door;
And his echoed voice all the seeming of an angel in my dreaming,
The eternal lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his light in my core;
And my soul now regenerated, liberated, exonerated, redeemed fore,
Shall be lifted – forevermore!

Are You a Watchman?

shofar-man

Invariably when I broach this subject I am quizzed about the Watchtower booklets used by the Jehovah’s Witness. And so, right up front let me say that these are not the same. Rather, this is a term used in the bible in Ezekiel, Chapter 33, and verses 1-11. In this chapter God addressed Ezekiel in such a manner that it leads some scholars to believe God was talking to anyone who is called to be part of the clergy. Some scholars will say God is using this example to Ezekiel to highlight the duty of all Christians. Either way there is a lesson to be learned here. I am not going to write out all the verses. Those that I quote will be from the Revised English Standard.

The people of the Old Testament times were mostly nomads; some people had become city dwellers as a means of safety. Whether nomad or city dweller, danger lurked in the form of marauding bands or raiding armies. A watchman was necessary to warn the people of incoming danger. The watchman would take the highest vantage point to scan the horizon for trouble. From the highest sand dune, cliff, or pinnacle of the city tower, he would keep an eye out for threats. We obviously want people with certain qualities to fulfill these positions. They need to be able to see communicate clearly. We don’t want a blind mute watching for us.

God set Ezekiel up a watchman. He was told to warn the people of Israel as God’s spokesman. What God told him, he was to tell the people. God specifically told Ezekiel, the Watchman to warn the wicked that they will die in their wickedness. There were two possible scenarios here God describes along with the outcomes of each.

  1. The Watchman, given a clear word from God to warn the wicked people of their wickedness and to turn away from it, decides not to warn the people. The people will surely die, but God will hold the Watchman accountable because the people did not have a chance to change from their wickedness.
  2. The Watchman does tell the people they are going to die in their wickedness and they don’t repent of their wicked ways. Again, the wicked will die in their wickedness, but the Watchman will not be held accountable. He did what he was instructed to do.

In the first scenario the wicked are not warned and God says that person will be “taken away in his iniquity.” Iniquity is immoral behavior. If left unchecked, the person will be lost in it. Can people be so blind to their immoral lives? Yes, they see nothing wrong with their lives and who are you to point it out? You got to be careful here. If God tells you to speak with someone about their immoral lifestyle, you better be sure it is from God and you go in His power, not your own. Conversely, if God has told you to address the immoral ways of someone and you don’t speak up, then God is going to hold you accountable for not speaking to that person. This isn’t so easy with family or friends, is it?

The part of the equation besides God’s power is the reason for the telling, which brings us several questions:

  • Do Christians have a right to correct/confront non-Christians? It is not a matter of right; it is a matter of obligation, obedience, attitude, and desired outcomes. Again, is God telling you to do it or are you doing it in an attitude of being offended or judgmental? Do you just want them to stop the behavior or do you want them to see they are lost in that sin without a Savior? If you want them to meet Jesus then it won’t be a “come to Jesus meeting.”
  • Do Christians have a right to correct/confront Christians? Here too, it is not a matter of a right as much as it is a matter of obligation. Believe it or not, Christians and non-Christians have a different standard. God does not expect the unbeliever to act like a Christian. He expects them to become Christians. God also does not expect Christians to behave like unbelievers. The correction here is to bring a brother or sister, someone who is part of the family, back into a right relationship with the family. Their iniquity separates them from fellow brothers and sisters as well as the Father.

Above all things, there is to be an attitude of love. We talk to the immoral unbeliever because we love them and want them to live up to the spiritual purpose God created them for. We lovingly confront the brother or sister because we love them and, like God, want what is best for them in their walk with Him. In the last two verses God makes it plan that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Rather, as a loving Father He implores them to turn back from their wickedness to find life. He asks, “Why will you die?”

Free eBook- C.S. Lewis: A Life Inspired

CS Lewis1

As promised, I found another free book offer. This time it is an ebook. For a limited time you can get this free ebook on your Kindle at Amazon. See the description and link below.

“Explore the life of the renowned author of The Chronicles of Narnia and his views on faith, reason, doubt, and love. This enlightening biography examines Lewis’s own rigorous debates about the Christian story and its place in our imperfect lives.” – BookBub

Free C.S. Lewis eBook

 

Hearts of Fire – Free Book

Hearts of Fire1

So, what if I offered you something for free? Nothing is free you say. Well, that would be true. In school, the free lunches were paid for by tax money the government filtered down to the school, so technically it wasn’t free. What about free salvation? It’s free to you, but it cost God His Son and Jesus His life and I know He would do it again if it was required. How about a free book? This cost the author time, effort, and somebody’s money, but if they offer it to you for free, then you would wonder what the catch is. I have found over the years many such offers and I have tried out quite a few of them. The “catch” is usually signing up for an email, blog, or newsletter subscription. All of which can be cancelled at any time. I usually enjoy the subscription, so, is it free? I would say free enough. With all that said, I have decided to share these offers with you my reader as I find them. Here is the first free offer I have found worthy of sharing. I hope you enjoy it.

Description: “Eight women from eight very different backgrounds, yet the struggles they each faced rang with similarity. From Pakistan, India, Romania, the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Nepal, and Indonesia, these women shared similar experiences of hardship and persecution—all for their faith in Christ—yet they have emerged from adversity as leaders and heroines.”

Hearts of Fire Free Book Offer