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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Teach the Young

September 27, 2010
Yours is the duty of instructing the young...

Think to Act

September 28, 2010

Christian education today is largely an information-transfer affair...

Duties of Soul Friends

September 29, 2010
Being a soul friend is a two-way street.

Check Sin Now

October 01, 2010
Unchecked sin is like a cancer in the soul.

Penance

October 04, 2010
"Contraries are by contraries cured."

Contrary Thinking

October 06, 2010
We should all be doing this regularly.

The Medicine of Souls

October 08, 2010
...a physician who will not prescribe life-giving medicine to sick patients ought to find other work.

Outside-In

October 18, 2010
Spiritual growth, for the most part, in an inside-out affair.

Sola Scriptura

October 19, 2010
Celtic Christians sustained an esteem of Scripture unsurpassed by Luther, Calvin, Knox, or any of the Reformers.

Cast Out

September 27, 2009

Satan, Bound (3)

{enclose Everythoughtsatan3.mp3}

I thought that we with ease
our bold objective would attain, for I
had never seen God’s power in wrath, and by
my calculations He could, by surprise
and show of force, be led to quit the prize
I sought and settle for some lesser role.
We came against His temple, all the whole,
vast throng, a third of heaven’s most glorious knights,
and I their captain.1 Each was primed to fight
unto the death to seize the throne and right
this great injustice with a show of might
and fury heaven had never seen before.
But as we marched up to the temple door
it soon became apparent our design
had been discovered, for a lustrous line
of heavenly hosts had been arrayed against
us.2 Our contingent faltered, and I sensed
they knew defeat was imminent. And so
I stood before the ranks and roared out, “Know,
my comrades, you have come too far to balk
and tremble now. Where is your towering talk
of triumph? What’s become of all your boasts
of victory? Look around, my cringing hosts:
You see the best of all creation in
your ranks. Press on! Advance! For we can win
the day if our resolve is firm!” Thus I
harangued the cowardly horde and fixed my eye
with threatening gaze on every one. But when
I turned to lead them into battle, then
I saw Him standing in their midst, aflame
with glory, radiant, fearsome, and His Name
upon His breast: The Word of God. I felt
my being drain away, and would have knelt
before Him, as our custom was, but then
my trembling turned to fury, and again
I urged my minions onward. Not a word
escaped His mouth, but with His fiery sword
He motioned calmly, whereupon there came
forth from His solid side the one whose name
is Michael. He advanced with swiftest speed
in my direction, unaccompanied
by any other. I prepared to meet
him in a dual of champions and defeat
him soundly; then I would assault the Lord
Himself and kill Him with His own broad sword,
and then the throne of heaven would be mine.
The prospect thrilled me, filled me with a kind
of giddiness and glee. I howled and shrieked,
and terror gripped my hosts, who now were weak
with fear and dread. My passion grew into
a frenzy as I drew my sword to do
the great archangel in. But with one blow
he fiercely fell on me and laid me low
upon the court of heaven. Never would
I have imagined that an angel could
such strength accumulate. He stood above
me with his sword raised high. The features of
his face were terrifying, as he drew
his awesome might together. And I knew
that I was finished, so I cursed my foe
with bitter ranting, and implored him, “Go
on, go on! Get it over with!” But he
stood strong and statue-like, and looked at me,
awaiting further orders. Then I heard
a voice that shook all heaven, and the word
He spoke secured my fate: “Expel him! Send
them all from off these lofty heights! 3 Their end
in time shall come. For now consign them to
the place for which they lusted. Cast them through
the veil that separates our worlds, and let
them prowl and skulk upon the earth. For yet
I will my counsel all fulfill, and I
will demonstrate before his lusting eye
the glory that he coveted. And he
will have no power to stop or hinder Me,
until I crush his hate-filled head at last.”

Immediately I and all my host were cast
beyond the veil and tumbled downward through
the heavens, hurtling helplessly onto
the earth. The plummet stunned us all, and for
the longest time we lay in silence, more
from fear than pain. And then I spoke: “He will
regret that He did not let Michael kill
me. Get up, get up now! There’s work to do!
You cringing cowards, your liberty is through;
now you belong to me, and I will rule
your lives from this day on. And let no fool
among you think to try my strength, for though
the great archangel overcame me, know
for certain that no one of you, nor all
together, is a match for me. I call
on earth and heaven to heed my solemn threat:
I will prevail against the Almighty yet!
Now get away from me! Be gone, and let
me think! When I am ready I will set
my plan before you and will show each one
what part he is to play once we’ve begun.”

1 Revelation 12.3, 4

2 Revelation 12.7-9, 13

3 Ezekiel 28,17, 18

Covenant Subversion

March 14, 2010

706123_fishing_hookSatan, Bound (13)

{enclose Everythoughtsatan13.mp3}

Yes, yes…or can you not the beauty of
it see? Look, here is God, who by His love
has His eternal will inscribed in plain
words, so His people might the blessings gain
of His enduring covenant.1 What more
could they desire of Him? What more implore
Him to perform, than what He plainly tells
them in His Word?2 If only I could sell
them on the notion that they ought to try
and push Him further, lead Him to comply
with their extrapolations of His Word,
then this would be to test the sovereign Lord,
which is the same as making Him observe
the notions of their foolish hearts, and swerve
from His revealed intent. And if this I
could manage, I would make His Word a lie,
well, unreliable, at least, and all
would put the Lord at their own beck and call,
to serve their vain imaginations and
interpretations of His clear command.

I don’t expect you to appreciate
my cunning – just to take my dangled bait.

Off to the wilderness I sped, and there
observed His people feasting on a fare
of strangest pastry, which had drifted down
from heav’n, and they collected off the ground.3
Oh, His annoying care for all their need!
I thought, I’ll use this feast to foster greed,
and promptly led some to suggest that He
who had provided this might also be
enticed, let’s say, to add a little meat
to the cuisine. Now wouldn’t that be sweet?
Again, observe my genius working: Let
God’s Word be clear: He promised He would set
before them every day this heav’nly bread.
I showed them how to use these words instead
to push the Lord beyond what He had meant
to say, exploring if He might be bent
to do their will than, rather, they do His!
A simple formula – “if that, then this” –
was all I needed to suggest, and they
were off and running, seeking every way
they might get God to fit within their schemes
by starting with His written Word, as seems
most reasonable, and then expanding out
from there by sinful logic, casting doubt
on what is clearly written for the sake
of getting other foolish folk to take
their side and to endorse their point of view.

Permit me to attach a footnote to
the wilderness fiasco – my first thrust
and parry to subvert His people’s trust
in His revealed and spoken Word. He threw
their gambit in their faces, sending to
their lusting gullets quail to make them puke.
I had to chuckle at this stern rebuke.

This avenue of covenant subversion
was most adaptable. Whate’er perversion
suggested by my subtlety seemed to
advance whatever they desired to do,
they seized upon with evident delight.
See him who struck the rock protest his rights
as though he were the Lord Himself.4 Observe
this one, whose lusting heart began to swerve
from God’s declared intentions when he spied
unguarded plunder, whereupon I lied
to him, implying that this little bit
of stuff would not send God into a fit
of rage, in spite of what He’d clearly said.
Now he and all his family are dead.5
And see this judge, who piously declined
to be appointed king, a change of mind
experience, and test the Lord beyond
what He had promised, and bestow the fond
name of “My Father King Is” on his son
(the little bastard).6 Here’s another one,
whose foolish vow – permissible within
the scope of revelation – led to sin
and slaughter.7 See this king ignore the Word
of God, and by his power as the lord
and savior of his nation (so he thought),
convince himself and everyone they ought
to keep a little booty for themselves.8
His fate is shared by everyone who delves
in this experiment of trying to
make God’s Word sponsor whate’er he wants to do.
See all those foolish prophets bend the Word
of God to suit the fancies of their lord
and king? Or those whose messages assure
the people that God’s favor will endure
in spite of all their sin? They’re in my pay,
and all my neat ideas promptly obey.

So everywhere I looked, in time, I saw
those clever, foolish people, more in awe
of their interpretations or the views
of some misguided prophet whom they’d choose
to follow – even though his failing word
was shown by others to be false, absurd,
and not a word from God – put Yahweh to
the test, to see if they could make Him do
their bidding. All the while I let them think
their footing firm, though they were at the brink
of devastation.

And I noted my
demonic host cast an approving eye
on this successful ploy. Although the Lord
did not forsake or change His holy Word,
it didn’t matter. In the hands of these
upstart interpreters, who sought to please
themselves at God’s expense, His Word had none
of that transforming, blessing pow’r that one
would reasonably expect. Which is to say
His holy covenant could not allay
my gathering strength, as I continued to
His people’s confidence in Him undo
and all my wicked pleasure satisfy
by substituting for His truth my lie.

1 2 Timothy 3.15-17

2 1 Corinthians 4.6

3 Exodus 16.1-26

4 Numbers 20.10-13

5 Joshua 7.10-26

6 Judges 8.22-32

7 Judges 11.29-40

8 1 Samuel 15.1-23

Something More

April 05, 2010

FoolSatan, Bound (14)

But let’s give credit, shall we, where it’s due,
for stupid people are agreeable to
whatever will advance their foolish pride,
exalt their station, reinforce their side
in any controversy, or impress
whoever needs impressing. So I guess
I have to say, “Congratulations, fools,
whoever of you chooses your own rules
to follow, rather than what God has clearly
revealed. You’ll pay for this behavior dearly.”

From which I’m sure you can deduce that I
was less than satisfied with this last lie,
since, truth be told (for once), I had to share
my kudos in promoting everywhere
the views of men above the Word of God
with foolish, clever people. Give the nod
to every reckless reader of God’s Word;
they all shall be impaled on their own sword.

I needed something more, some way to trash
God’s covenant that was completely brash
and brazen, altogether unforeseen,
outrageous, unexpected. I was keen
to hit on something that would leave no doubt
that I could orchestrate whatever clout
was needed to assault the heav’nly throne
and make the rule of earth and heav’n my own.
The vision of me being worshiped by
the whole creation thrilled me, filling my
imagination with scenarios
of darkness, death, destruction, endless woes
on every creature – except me, of course.
And then I saw it: nothing could be worse
than that the race of chosen people, set
apart by God for His own benefit
and glory, somehow should be led to – oh,
the very thought of it engaged me so! –
should be persuaded they’d be better off –
you should have heard my demon colleagues scoff
at the suggestion – if, they gave to me –
what heights of brazenness could ever be
above this ploy! – the solemn worship due
to God alone! If I could get them to
embrace this lie, and all the gory rites
it might include, I’d have within my sights
the final victory. But how to get
them to abandon Him who daily met
them with fresh revelation, and met all
their needs, so they would on my favor call?


Photo: Ulrik De Wachter

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