The Unbarred Door

I have recently been reflecting on what it means to follow Jesus’ commandments about loving our enemies and not resisting evil.  This poem, written by an unknown author, expresses one component of what it means to follow Jesus in that area of life.

The Unbarred Door

When on America’s eastern plain
Still roamed her forest child,
And the new homes of Europe’s sons
Were rising in the wild.

Upon a clearing in a wood
Amos had built his cot;
He tilled his little farm
And lived contented with his lot.

A just, peace-loving man was he,
Kind unto all and true,
And well his ever-open door,
The wandering Indian knew.

But often were the settler’s lands.
By force or fraud obtained
And to the Red man dispossessed,
Revenge alone remained.

And ’round the blazing fire of logs
When winter nights were cold,
To shuddering listeners, dreadful tales
Of Indian raids were told.

But Amos feared not, though his home
All undefended lay,
And still his never-bolted door
Was open night and day.

One morn a neighbor passed in haste;
“Indians, they say, are nigh,
So Amos, bolt your door tonight
And keep your powder dry.”

“My friend,” said he, the God I serve
Commands me not to kill,
And sooner would I yield my life
Than disobey his will.

“One gun I have, but used alone
Against the wolf or bear,
To point it at my fellow-man,
My hand would never dare.

“But I shall put the thing away.
They shall not see it here.
For the old gun in hands unskilled,
Might do some harm, I fear.

“Besides, the Indians are my friends
They would not do me ill,
Here they have found an open door
And they shall find it still.”

“Well,” said the neighbor, as he went,
“My faith is not so clear.
If wretches come to take my life,
I mean to sell it dear.”

But the good wife of Amos stood,
And listened with affright.
“Unless,” she said, “that door is fast,
I shall not sleep tonight.”

And with her words as women can
She urged her husband sore,
Till for the sake of household peace,
At last he barred the door.

They went to rest, and soon the wife
Was wrapped in slumbers deep;
But Amos turned and tossed about,
And vainly tried to sleep.

Then came a voice within his heart,
A mild rebuke it bore.
It whispered, “Thou of little faith
Why hast thou barred thy door?”

‘Weak is that poor defense of thine,
Against a hostile band;
Stronger that strongest fortresses,
The shadow of my hand.”

“Hast thou not said, these many times?
That I have power to save,
As when my servants trembling feet,
Were sinking ‘neath the wave?”

“Now let thy actions with thy words
In full accord agree;
Rise quickly and unbar thy door
And trust alone in Me.”

Then Amos from his bed arose.
And softly trod the floor;
Crept down the stairs and noiselessly
Unbarred the cottage door.

Then forth he looked into the night;
Starlight it was, and still
And slowly rose the waning moon.
Behind the tree-ringed hill.

He looked with trustful, reverent gaze
Up to the starry sky,
As meets a child with loving glance,
A tender father’s eye.

The cloud was lifted from his brow,
His doubts were over now,
The cool air breathed a kiss of peace
Upon his tranquil brow.

Then back to his forsaken bed
He slowly groped his way,
And slept the slumber of the just,
Until the dawn of day.

That night a painted warrior band
Through the dark forest sped,
With steps as light upon the leaves
As panthers’ stealthy tread.

They reached the farm; “we make no war,
With good and faithful men,”
The foremost Indian turned and said,
“Here dwells a son of Penn.”

“But brother, if still his heart is right.
How shall we surely know?”
Answered another; “Time brings change.
And oft turns friend to foe.”

Said the first one, “I will go
And gently try the door;
If open still it proves
His heart is as it was before.”

It yielded and they entered in.
Across the room they stepped,
And came where Amos and his wife.
Calm and unconscious slept.

With tomahawk and scalping knife.
They stood beside the pair.
A solemn stillness filled the room;
An angel guard was there.

The eye sought eye and seemed to say.
How sound the good man
So may they rest, and fear no ill,
Whom the Great Spirit keeps.

Then noiselessly they left the room
And dosed the door behind,
And on their deadly war trail passed.
Some other prey to find.

And horror shrieked around their steps.
And bloodshed marked their way,
And many homes were desolate.
When rose another day.

But Amos with a thankful heart
Greeted the morning light,
And knew not until after years
How near was death that night.

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A Fearless Christian

“The Lord challenges us to suffer persecutions and to confess him.  He wants those who belong to him to be brave and fearless.  He himself shows how weakness of the flesh is overcome by courage of the Spirit.  This is the testimony of the apostles and in particular of the representative, administering Spirit.  A Christian is fearless.”
(Tertullian)

Being a Christian

This was written in 2007 or 2008, as part of my college application process.  I hope I have grown as both a Christian and a writer since then, but this represents a stage in my development.    

What Being a Christian Means to Me

To me, being a Christian means living a transformed life.  Not a perfect life, but a life that reflects Christ more and more.  A life that daily requires crucifixion of my carnal nature.  A life that relies on the living God for strength from day from day.  A life that experiences the freedom that can be ours through the atoning work of the Messiah.

I know that as long as I am on this earth I have the ability to sin.  My sin nature will keep tugging at me, trying to get me to slide back into sin.  And I haven’t always experienced the freedom in Christ that I could have.  I know what it’s like to be trapped in sin.  I am fully aware that on my own I am no match for the devil.  I have tried to face temptation with my own strength and it’s basically a suicide mission.  I have yielded to Satan much ground in a particular area.  And although the struggle continues, through the grace of God I want to continue reclaiming that ground and living victoriously over sin.

To me, being a Christian includes membership in a local body of believers.  I believe that membership, or at least regular attendance, at a Biblical church is essential to spiritual growth.  Churches provide opportunities to serve, spiritual instruction and encouragement, and godly counsel.

To me, being a Christian includes living a life that is consistent with Biblical commands.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, that we were bought with a price, and that we ought to glorify God in our bodies.  With those verses in mind, I believe that the use of alcohol, tobacco, etc.  has no place in the life of a Christian.

To me, being a Christian also includes abstaining from anything that pollutes the mind.  We cannot be transformed by God unless our minds are renewed.

To me, being a Christian includes seriously considering what God’s will for my life is.  Whatever my career, my goal should be to live a life of service to others, following the example of Jesus, who did not come to be served, but rather to serve.

To me, being a Christian includes fulfilling the Great Commission in my everyday life by seeking to share the Gospel with the people I come into contact with.  I am a member of the Pocket Testament League and receive Gospels of John to hand out.  I believe that God desires for us to have a Great Commission mindset- being prepared at any time to share the Good News with anyone.

To me, being a Christian includes spending time in prayer and Bible study.  I believe that God can speak to us through His Word if we are quiet before Him and I feel it is important for Christians to hear from God in that way.

To me, being a Christian includes living in submission to the authorities God has placed over me. I am to obey authorities in every instance expect when doing so would require me to contradict God’s Word.

In conclusion, as a Christian I recognize that I am saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  My relationship with Him should always be my first priority, and I should be constantly seeking to grow in my walk with the Master.