The Gang of Five

It certainly has been a crazy year, hasn’t it?  Well, thankfully, a new year is upon us and here at the Gang of Five forum we have a new year of showcases, prompts, and themes to get the new year started in the right way.  We wish you all a happy new year, and we look forward to what you have in store for us this year!

For the month of January we have a new character showcase.  Please warmly welcome Littlefoot's Mother! :)littlefoot The character showcase topic for this month can be found here.

Also keep in mind that the December and January prompts for the fanfic prompt challenge is now open.  We are doing things a bit differently this season and allowing for people to either fulfill a monthly prompt or a suggested prompt during each month.  I look forward to seeing what you all come up with! :)  The fanfic prompt rules and list of monthly prompts can be found here.

The Imitation of Christ

Gentle Sharptooth

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I have found Thomas A Kempis Imitatio to be sobering, comforting, and helpful devotional. It really helps with how to treat other people with grace, respect, and kindness, as well as offer deep truths.

Here is a sampling:

Chapter 16 (Book One)

"Whatever a man is unable to correct in himself or in others, he should bear patiently until God ordains otherwise. Consider, it is perhaps better thus, for the testing of our patience, without which our merits are of little worth. Whenever such obstacles confront you, pray to God that He may grant you His help, and give you grace to endure them in good heart.(Matt.6:13)

If anyone who has been once or twice warned remains obdurate, do not argue with him, but commit all things to God, that His will may be done, and His Name hallowed in all His servants; for He knows well how to bring good out of evil(Gen.50:20) Strive to be patient; bear with the faults and frailties of others, for you, too, have many faults which others have to bear. If you cannot mould yourself as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking? For we require other people to be perfect, but do not correct our own faults.

We wish to see others severely reprimanded; yet we are unwilling to be corrected ourselves. We wish to restrict the liberty of others, but are not willing to be denied anything ourselves. We wish others to be bound by rules, yet we will not let ourselves be bound. It is amply evident, therefore, that we seldom consider our neighbor in the same light as ourselves. Yet, if all men were perfect, what should we have to bear with in others for Christ's sake?
Now, God has thus ordered things that we may learn to bear one another's burdens;(Gal.6:2) for there is no man without his faults, none without his burden.(Gal.6:5) None is sufficient in himself;(2Cor.3:5) none is wise in himself;(Prov.3:7) therefore we must support one another,(Col.3:13) comfort(I Thess 5:11), help, teach, and advise one another. Times of trouble best discover the true worth of a man; they do not weaken him, but show his true nature." (Thomas A Kempis)


Gentle Sharptooth

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Chapter 12, Book One

IT is good for us to encounter troubles and adversities from time to time, for trouble often compels a man to search his own heart. It reminds him that he is an exile here, and that he can put his trust in nothing in this world. It is good, too, that we sometimes suffer opposition, and that men think ill of us and misjudge us, even when we do and mean well. Such things are an aid to humility, and preserve us from pride and vainglory. For we more readily turn to God as our inward witness, when men despise us and think no good of us.
A man should therefore place such complete trust in God, that he has no need of comfort from men. When a good man is troubled, tempted, or vexed by evil thoughts, he comes more clearly than ever to realize his need of God, without whom he can do nothing good. Then, as he grieves and laments his lot, he turns to prayer amid his misfortunes. He is weary of life, and longs for death to release him, that he may be dissolved, and be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). It is then that he knows with certainty that there can be no complete security nor perfect peace in his life.