03 Come and See

Your true will longs for something better than what society offers. The effect of moving your conscious awareness into the Spirit Realm means pulling your head along behind into a different space of moral discernment. You realize that the moral implications are the only thing that matters.

You realize that changing the facts of your situation is not a matter of human capabilities, but weaving yourself into the moral fabric within Creation. Change yourself and Creation plays along. There is a whole different universe waiting to be born into your life. Your flesh won’t appreciate the time lag, but your heart will know that time is measured in terms of ripeness, not scheduling. All good things from God come in His time, and our patience is strengthened. Your heart retrains your mind to believe in things your senses cannot perceive. You have to sense from your heart and train your brain to process it as truth.

God is not reticent with us. He has poured out revelation that could overwhelm the ability of all the world to receive. One of our regulars here has said that most people are caught off guard and don’t recognize a vision from God when it comes. It’s an image of a different reality that creeps into your awareness, confirmed by your convictions as the truth of God. It’s not a question of showing you something others may or may not see; it shows you things God wants you to see. But it still requires the brain getting the right message from it in order to act on it, and your mind will make some mistakes for awhile. However, when that vision gets stored as a persistent representation of what your heart knows is true, you gain the confirmation that you are on the right track.

We live in a world that is far, far away from giving credence to such things. This is why it is so very hard for many of you to make it work. For example, the term in Scripture translated as “a vision” need not register as visual, but can be any number of different impressions that mimic the five senses — any or all. It can be strong enough to seem utterly real in all respects, but it varies from person to person, and context to context. It’s intent is always to strengthen your moral resolve to obey the Spirit of God.

The obedience aims to manifest His glory in your conduct before a watching world. It’s not just that you do the right things, but that the sum total of your choices also brings a selection of blessings. Part of it is learning what is and isn’t a blessing. These things are poorly assessed by the flesh, but you have to see the interplay between what your heart knows and what human minds can pick out. They may not see a blessing for what it is, but looks for “good” that isn’t actually a blessing. Meanwhile, it takes a long time to get your own fleshly mind used to this way of doing things. So your failures are part of the bigger picture of His glory.

The one thing that no one can dismiss or dispute is your compassion and joy. Indeed, they cannot take that away from you unless you surrender it willingly. Not even Satan has that power.

This is why I make so much of turning on your sensory heart to nature. If you can just make that connection, then on a regular basis you can go into a quiet moment away from this world and hear that glorious celebration that is constantly roaring in nature. Catching a dose of that tends to put things back into their proper perspective and makes suffering seem light. God always makes a way for us to come out of the cacophony of fallen human distractions so that we can experience just a fragment of nature, and move outside of our fallen self for just a little while.

I know that for me, it’s more than reason enough for my persistent efforts at fitness. If my workouts serve no other purpose, that’s more than enough reason for the struggle. Getting out away from human noise, including my own inner noise, and tasting the ever fresh newness of praise in Creation is a joy unspeakable.

We live in a universe that this world cannot perceive.

Nagging Memories

There’s something troubling me.

On the one hand, your sense of moral conviction does not reside in your physical heart. The lamp of spiritual truth would burn just as brightly if you depended on an artificial heart to pump your blood. On the other hand, there is simply no way to deny the unique ability of the heart as a sensory organ. If it’s not your physical heart pushing out that powerful electromagnetic field, then something in your body near the heart is doing it. The field has been measured and it emanates from that spot just to the left of your sternum and inside the ribcage. I suppose the question of whether an artificial heart takes away that measurable field is something that hasn’t been tested by the medical researchers who discovered the heart’s sensory field. Thus, I am not able to explain just exactly how the literal sensory heart connects to the metaphorical heart of moral conviction, only that there appears to be a connection.

What I can declare without reservation is that when you make a conscious effort to connect your awareness with that sensory field in your heart, it changes your whole perspective on reality. It’s more than my personal experience; it’s amply testified by others on this blog and in other places on the Net. Further, once you’ve entered that realm of awareness, there’s no going back without something inside of you dying first.

As part of that shift in consciousness comes a sensitivity to moral health. Not just your own, but the environment in which you live. More to the point, it pulls you into a place where your moral health becomes deeply connected to the moral environment. It’s not a question of dependency, but the interaction is there. Your sense of internal peace can be afflicted by what’s wrong around you, and there comes a call inside of you to deal with it in some way to avoid going insane. Each of us in our unique calling from God has to discover what we were meant to do about the context in which He has placed us. Between you and the Lord, no one else can fully understand just where you will find that balance point between bearing up under sorrow and taking some action to reduce the sorrow.

But there are some common elements for all of us. A part of that is healing old moral wounds. That is, the Spirit of the Lord works through this moral sensitivity to heal those wounds, but the means of doing so is where things tend to be unique. A part of the common experience is how the ghosts of bad experiences come back to haunt you. Pay particularly close attention to something that makes you feel out of sorts, as if you were being pulled out of your normal self. In the mirror of such moments of torment, anything that makes you feel like someone you don’t really know — someone you may not like — there is a signal in the heart to seek the Lord’s face for an answer: What does this torment signal for me?

I can assure you that sometimes the answer may literally take years before it reaches some point where your conscious mind knows what to do about it. That’s not meant to scare you, but to assure you that there is always an answer. You have to realize that it may require moving you a very long way before you are in the place where it starts to make sense.

Over the years there have been a handful of troubling experiences that play over in my mind, creating a very disturbing atmosphere in my soul. It’s not some sort of guilt, either false or justified. It’s an unanswered question: Why does this still trouble me so much? Why does it provoke deep emotions that conflict with each other? I replay this event and test variations, changes in how I could have responded, to see if any different choices make better sense. Could I had done it better? Sometimes that’s enough to find a solution and I get peace about that thing. Sometimes it continues beyond that, typically because it’s much bigger than my own failures. When something from the past makes me angry enough to kill, it’s a signal that there is an unanswered question with a much wider implication.

What’s troubling me today is something that merits a separate blog post.

On Paedophilia

First, I refer you to the previous post as background. This is also a prophetic message.

Paedophilia is contained in Western Civilization. It starts and ends with the peculiar mythology of Western values. Take away the peculiarities of Western thinking and it’s not a significant issue.

Have you noticed that the Bible never addresses child sexual abuse? It’s not as if there was no one outside the West having sex with children, but that the sin was never elevated as a particular sin worse than other sexual sins. Westerners are hysterical about it, all the while far more likely to engage in it. In the Bible it’s lumped in with other idolatries; it’s not raised as a significant issue because it was a very unlikely temptation. It requires a Western culture to become widespread.

The whole thing rests on a peculiar idolatry. Westerners worship youth; they also have a very heathen approach to human sexuality in general. We have divorced it from the sacred position it held in the Ancient Near East (ANE). We don’t have space here to draw out the full image of ANE attitudes about sex, but they were both far more relaxed and far more restrained. Sex was never treated as a deity, but was typically indulged in service to a deity. Not in the sense of ritualized rigidity in performance, but the act itself was impossible to divorce from ritual meaning.

Thus, one of the first questions in the ANE mind was what a particular sex act signified. As you might expect, conjugal relations in the home with family was very private from outsiders, yet rather frank and open within the household. Every other form of sexual activity was inherently religious in nature. In this, the Hebrew religion was a radical break from the rest. Not that you couldn’t find the same sexual mores outside of Israel, but that the ANE was dominated by a vast depth of pagan religious sex rituals. Sex was a major factor in devotion to the most common pagan deities Israel encountered.

Thus, it was rare to find a prostitute who wasn’t pandering on behalf of some pagan deity. Most particularly was this true of homosexual prostitution. Indeed, virtually all homosexuality was presumed part of heathen idolatry. Given the Hebrew teaching that all pagan religion was devotion to demons, homosexuality was first and foremost a betrayal of Jehovah.

This was not the legalistic nonsense that pervades modern Western imaginations about Hebrew religion, as this imagery arose only with the birth of Judaism. Judaism was a departure from Old Testament religion, a perversion arising from the introduction of Hellenized intellectual traditions. In the minds of true Old Testament believers, sex outside of marriage was a serious threat to shalom. This whole business of sex itself as naughty, the symbolism of the Fall associated with apples and sex, stems from pagan insertions into biblical religion. In the Bible, sex was a gift from God that could be enjoyed or abused like anything else. Adam and Eve enjoyed conjugal relations long before the Fall.

And virtually no one was sexually attracted to children. There was a complete absence of this heathen idolatry of youth; normal life in the ANE didn’t begin before 30. There was no separate period of adolescence. There was a period of childhood that ran up to about age nine, at which point one began preparing for entrance into the Covenant. After that bar Mitzvah, there was a long apprenticeship during which one might not have full adult accountability, but you were expected to be striving for it. This, in contrast to how Western society infantilizes adolescents and pretends that it’s a magical time.

So the whole mess of Western culture makes paedophilia inevitable. It sets up an unbearable tension between the sacredness of childhood and the urge to steal our way back into by bringing adult sexual spoliations. While Western minds can see how much trouble this causes, that trouble is ghastly distorted and swollen out of shape and out of proportion by missing the whole point of why it’s wrong. In God’s eyes, paedophilia is a moral failure that stands entirely upon other, worse moral failures. Our modern Western hysteria about it is a primary provocation that causes it. You cannot propose a moral solution to the problem from within the problem.

Western society has followed the demons far, far from the revelation of God.

The Fear of Fools

Think about it for a moment. Contemplate and clear out the old garbage.

God’s Word tells us about Creation. Right there in blunt terms in Genesis 1:31 tells us that God saw all that He had made and it was very good. It still is. Notice the way the Curse of the Fall is explained: the ground is cursed by our fallen nature (Genesis 3:17-19). Paul goes on to explain how Creation was not directly cursed, but subjected to futility because of the curse on our fallen nature (Romans 8:20-21). Creation did not choose that path; God did. God is the one who subjected His Creation to the management of humans back in the Garden. Under the Curse, it was no longer manageable in the same way, but He planned to redeem us so that we could regain that lost communion with our best ally.

Creation itself is our ally, and we are supposed to be managers. Satan didn’t steal control from us in the Garden; he does not own Creation and has not usurped our management role. All he has is some limited authority to seduce us the way he did in the Garden. If we return to God and His ways — if we pass through the Flaming Sword of Truth — then we can return to something we lost in Eden. Stop eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and go back to eat the Tree of Life. We who are redeemed are not threatened by Creation.

Granted, there are things in nature that will still hurt us. When we begin to cultivate the heart-mind as the anchor for our decision-making in this world, we are led to study that nature is a blessing and how it is a blessing. Some things we find in nature aren’t for us directly, but are there as a part of the larger whole. So we don’t hang out where biting insects will swarm us; we don’t go into places with too many thorns and contact toxins; we don’t typically approach animals who think of us as food. We leave them to play their part and go where nature welcomes us.

Yes, there are times when God will show His glory by having us do things we wouldn’t normally do. So Elijah called fire down from heaven and didn’t have to actually die, but rode Home in a chariot with angels. Jonah was eaten but no digested. Daniel was not eaten by the lions, and his pals were not burned by the fiery furnace. And Jesus walked on the water and healed thousands. The heart knows when those moments come; it’s all about God’s glory.

From what I’ve seen, there aren’t many places in the universe we can go safely outside Earth. This planet was designed to protect and provide. We have gone to the moon and some are planning to visit Mars, but it’s terribly expensive in resources and there’s been precious little direct payoff from it. But that’s not a reason in itself to stop trying; it’s just something we have to keep in mind as we evaluate our priorities. And one of the biggest issues we face is the massive torrent of deadly radiation out there. Recent efforts to sample what’s out there farther indicates the radiation levels climb radically. Space faring requires we bring with us just about every element of what nature provides here on Earth, and we are still learning what that includes every time we bring people back from a trip.

There is some hope we can find ways to move across large distances in space without directly traveling through it. Yep, folks are poking around at ways to cut through the space-time limitations that are part of the Curse. Let’s presume for a moment that God allows people to keep poking until they discover a way to move something by stepping into, say, another dimension of existence, and then coming back out somewhere else. There is only one way to escape time-space constraints: You have to enter the Spirit Realm. There is no other “dimension” of existence. And if you aren’t welcome in the Spirit Realm as a citizen, then it will be Hell for you. You cannot enter God’s house without His invitation and expect things to go well. It’s a case of going somewhere you don’t belong, only it’s a lot worse than being hurt or eaten alive. It will destroy your soul, yet leave you in full awareness of it for eternity.

We deduce this from a large collection of hints in the Bible. You can dispute the specifics, and I’m not going to list a ton of references. The Bible wasn’t written like that, so you can’t read it like that. Only when something is directly addressed can we try to make sense of some topic. The Scriptures provide a bunch of historic contextual incidents, and in most cases something in the text indicates the proper moral discernment of what matters. You are supposed to absorb the broader awareness of God as a Person and how He does things. Not with your head, but you learn to understand with your heart. And it’s pretty clear that there are no shortcuts in redemption and no shortcuts against the Curse of the Fall. If you read the Bible with your heart in the lead, I am confident we won’t dispute much.

But one thing becomes obvious to all of us: Virtually the whole genre of horror fiction conjures nightmares based on suppositions contrary to revelation. It presumes on a fundamental level that nature is full of unknown threats. It’s rather schizophrenic: You are warned against poking around in some things, then taught to fear not poking around because you might miss some moment of personal glory. You gotta be special to get away with it; you gotta have special talents and/or pay your dues, etc. The entire approach to understanding reality is twisted and perverted. Nature is not like that, and there aren’t any special domains where Satan rules. The horrific evil is inside each of us already, so we need redemption to escape the false understanding and false desires that take us places where we’ll get hurt.

If God calls you to poke around, do so with the knowledge it could end your life. But the only way anything can destroy your soul is if you fail to get into redemption where you can know His calling. You can’t answer His call if don’t make Him Lord. Horror fiction reflects the world of people who reject redemption. It reflects man asserting his mastery against the instinctive assurance that he is not master. Mankind rejects the humility of repentance arising from revelation, but cannot gain any peace and assurance without it. The only reason horror fiction sells is because it reflects and freaking insanity that mankind carries in the soul. It’s a morbid fascination that knows instinctively we are fallen, but refuses to accept the one path back to Eden — we must embrace the Sword cutting into our own souls.

Don’t fear nature; understand God’s will and share in His glory through proper communion with nature.

119: Teth 65-72

We celebrate here the Path of Discipline. The key line in this octet refers to going astray and receiving correction.

However, observing proper feudal protocol, the psalmist begins by affirming that God has treated him quite well, and consistent with revelation. This is a strong statement that God’s purpose and intentions are inherently in his own best interest. Further, it was always consistent with God’s promises. The second verse starts literally: “Goad me into having good taste and clear perception.” He sees how God has fostered a sense of trust and dependence in him.

Without some sense of sorrow and the experience of God’s wrath, it’s hard to drag our fallen nature into faithfulness. As a master, God defines what it means to be good, so keep goading us, Lord.

The wicked are always trying to stick some nasty label on us because we reject their imaginary morals. But it won’t stick because we serve God from the heart, not some human reason. By comparison, their hearts are loaded up with moral junk that only looks good, but their conscience is insensitive. By contrast, we gorge our hearts on the Law of God.

So it’s all good to walk through some affliction, because that’s how we discipline the flesh to obey the spirit. Even in His most challenging demands of us, the demands of God are more precious than all the wealth in the world.

Virtual Fire

In the human soul, nothing can match the sheer joy and sense of relief that comes from having someone you can trust. Without that, we are dead people walking. It is inherent in God’s image of kinship and covenant. Our human nature is so desperate for it that we place all kinds of trust in folks we should not, including trusting ourselves too much. One of the primary reasons for the rise of AI and virtual reality is that those things appear more trustworthy than any human. This age suffers a deep poverty of loyalty; it’s the final exposure of what is the skeleton of Western Civilization.

This is a time of visitation from God Almighty. He has sent His angels to investigate the state of things in our society, as He sent them to Sodom and Gomorrah before they were destroyed. Our destruction will be no less catastrophic, but His angels also carry the message of redemption for those who can hear it. I sincerely believe the angels have found more than five souls with the mark of His favor, so our destruction will be of a different kind. But you should have no doubt that the bar has been raised; He makes a demand that our society has never known. We had better figure it out quickly, because it is the key to what type and how much destruction we face.

On the one hand, the message of heart-led consciousness as the true path of faith is the key. On the other hand, we should never imagine we are the only ones who have that truth. We aren’t the sole franchise, but we are one that has a distinct mission.

This is the new reality; to some degree we are helping God forge a new one. We are the tools and His Spirit is the fire. Our hearts know this truth: Somewhere, somehow, a critical mass of believers have come to understand the heart-led way in one sense or another, and now there is enough of us — just barely — that God can justly demand it explicitly. It’s not that He never blessed previous generations lacking that truth. They had their good things from His hand. But now His plans include this one factor that, to all appearances, has been missing for quite some time in human existence on this earth (although folks in the New Testament seem to have taken it for granted). At any rate, we need to understand that our mission hangs on this truth, and the establishment of this truth will fundamentally change more than we could possibly know.

At a minimum, you and I can see clearly at this moment that the dire need for trust among humans is frankly nigh impossible without a heart-led consciousness. We can neither offer nor seek even so much genuine loyalty as humans can share without discerning things first in the heart-mind.

All that follows for us from these days hinges on a vision of reality having shifted to a place where heart-led faith is God’s requirement for inclusion as family in His Kingdom. It’s actually a revival of an ancient requirement of the Covenant of the Cross that was long forgotten, but it’s back in play now. Indeed, even for people who don’t yet “get” the Cross, it’s a requirement just to live in some small measure of His shalom.

Perhaps I could offer this parabolic explanation: You and I cannot know at what point Our Creator and Lord decides to include someone in the full privileges of His household. We can be assured only for ourselves. A great many people are in His household as servants but not family, and a great many more are in His flocks and herds. It’s not discrete levels so much as a sliding scale, because not everyone in His family gets the same blessings. At any given moment, we all can be found standing somewhere between morally dead on one end, and the incarnation of His Son at the other end. If you get to fly up to Heaven without dying, you’re pretty close to the high end of that scale. It’s happened a few times that we know of, but short of that, stay humble and know that you’ve got some room to grow.

And the key for us today is the heart-led consciousness. I don’t care what you call it, but that’s the term we use in this virtual parish.

Which brings us to another point: The virtual world will soon take a much greater weight in human affairs. I’m quite frustrated that so many of you live so far away; I can’t sit down and gaze in your eyes or give you a hug. My little slice of human meat-space includes precious few who have the slightest inkling of heart-led living. Part of my eagerness to ride a bicycle is just getting out where Creation itself dominates against the suffocating presence of fallen nature. Nothing in my life can replace being alone on a wind-swept hilltop far from other humans. If I could just cultivate a few heart-led friends, I could stand to share that hilltop with others.

This is not a question of plowing fallow ground, but of removing vast piles of rubble first. We have so very much to overcome just to get started. But whatever it is we do, it must start with walking first in that heart-led shalom, carrying it everywhere with us, and applying the resulting sense of moral consciousness to everything we do. Your heart will make your brain smarter.

I was never half so useful at tech support as when I consciously sought the leadership of my heart-mind. I’m telling you now that learning how to build trust in virtual space is something worth studying. That’s behind a lot of my blather about the Internet and computer technology. As much as you can bear, a major field of opportunity is adept handling of virtual space; God created that, too. This is where our world is headed, and we have to understand how to reach that world.

The Failure of Evil

The problem with great evil is that it always rests on human frailty.

Review: God created all things according to His own moral character. Reality itself is consistent with God’s personality. Second, He created a universe that rests somewhere within Creation as a relatively small part. It also responds to His moral character. Then He created us humans as the agents of management with a built-in awareness of His character, same as the rest of Creation.

Somewhere in our response after everything was established, we chose to rely on our human intellect and talents. Granted, we were given these things to help us obey, but the ultimate question of what is and is not morally right is beyond the intellect. Only the heart-mind can handle this question, and whatever it was we get from the narrative of the Fall, we must understand that mankind made a choice to assert intellect over the heart. Sadly, that means the heart becomes silent and mind is left to face the task of living and making sense of our fallen existence, and it cannot possibly discern the true nature of things. So relying on human reason is, by definition, a rejection of God’s character.

With the intellect alone, it is virtually impossible to grasp that Creation is alive and is imbued with a moral quality from God. While great efforts have been made to reawaken some higher consciousness, the mind cannot make much sense of things without a heart directly connected to the Creator. Thus, we can go back into human history and dig up all kinds of records indicating people did have some awareness of the superiority of the heart-mind, but the answers they record from their efforts in that direction are all mutually inconsistent. There is a certain similarity across these various attempts, but each one contains noticeable flaws that leave the practitioners powerless at critical moments.

The failures are manifest in all flavors. One of the most significant failures leads people to attempt pulling their fellow humans under one centralized rule. In the Bible, individuality is not central, so that’s not the answer. The answer is the family, branching out across ties of kinship and covenant. We note in passing that the Bible makes it plain that covenant takes precedence over blood kinship, but that the ideal is to have both. However, it also requires keeping family stuff within the family. More authority over more people must of necessity mean less detail. It should be obvious even to those with mere intellect that a proper daily life of peace and stability requires keeping things on a manageable scale.

But mere intellect cannot see the ultimate value of social stability, and demands social conformity instead. It’s easier for the intellect to handle ruling that way. The problem is that without a heart-led awareness, the mind imagines all kinds of things it might accomplish, mostly things that the heart would know could never work. The intellect cannot understand peace and stability the way God promised to grant it, so it imagines efficiency and centralized control — such control has never worked. Whatever it is you want to make of the narrative about the Tower of Babel, you should at least understand that empires grate on God’s moral character. It’s not that He makes no allowance for them to rise, but He always ends them sooner or later with horrendous wrath, and totally humiliating the rulers. The empires with the best historical records are those that remembered there were limits to central authority. They allowed the folks closest to the subjects to make decisions that affected them the most, and always assumed an Eastern feudal social structure.

We don’t have space here to dig into all the details. The Law of Noah remains binding upon every government until there are no more rainbows in the sky. I’ve written whole books exploring that Law; what matters here is that we realize they apply as a formulation written to the heart, not the intellect. Without the heart-mind in the lead, you cannot really obey Noah; you cannot possibly get it right. That means every government lacking a presumption of heart-led moral orientation is, by definition, evil. It matters not what the rulers think of themselves; they are evil who rule outside the heart-mind.

Even when those who conspire to rule embrace that moral judgment for themselves, they are unable to keep it all working for very long. Whatever it is they do will always be crippled by the lack of heart-led moral conviction.

It is utterly impossible for any human to actually personify the Antichrist. Satan doesn’t work that way; he is not permitted to pull that stunt. The heart-led truth of the Bible means it’s all parable, metaphor and symbolism. The biblical image of Antichrist is an influence on fallen human nature, not a literal individual figure. The antihero is a legend of the West, not from the Bible. You can easily read such imagery back into the Bible if you ignore the vast wealth of Ancient Hebrew intellectual traditions of mysticism, but you’ll get the wrong answers. Someone determined to be evil has already bought into the lies of Satan, and they cannot come up with a plan to take over the world that would actually work. Satan doesn’t work that way; he doesn’t lead people to some diabolical truth about universal power in this realm of existence. They have to be heart-led to understand it, and turning to evil means you don’t get it.

So the visions of a literal or semi-literal Apocalypse are just Western fiction. What really happens is that God sends some tribulation now and then, and the classical Apocalypse is merely a symbol of what it’s like. And here we sit in our day and time facing a very real threat of people who think their human wisdom makes them fit to rule over the whole world, but it will never happen. It may even start to look like it, but it won’t really work. The only people who really understand how it all works are people who have no interest in ruling.

That’s you and me, along with a bunch of other folks out there who remain unknown because that’s an element of divine wisdom. Just how much attention do you think we get here at Kiln of the Soul? We have no idea in our heads, but I’m willing to bet your heart tells you there are lots of folks who are heart-led, either consciously like we are, or who somehow manage to stumble upon it as some of us did before we tried to make it conscious. And the only reason we have this much is because God called us to it. We aren’t better, wiser or more talented; we are available.

Meanwhile, the desire to rule is proof of an evil moral nature. It’s not the same as ambition, by the way, but ambition can be bad or good. Most of the time, ambition falls somewhere in between, perhaps ranging back and forth some in the human soul. Some ambitions are clearly much less dangerous than others when you see it with the eyes of your heart. And your heart will tell you not to fear some satanic evil ruler taking over some major portion of the world, because even if they succeed for a time, we aren’t tied to this world in the first place.

And because we are tied into Heaven, there is an awful lot of audacious prayer requests that God will answer. That includes some of the most radical shifts in human political trends. Think about how much God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for just a handful of righteous souls (Genesis 18). You and I as heart-led servants of God qualify as “righteous souls” by God’s definition, and the definition Abraham used in his intercession. Because living heart-led makes us humble, we struggle to imagine the massive things God will do when we find the faith to ask. So take a good look with your heart at the current situation in which you live and let faith dare to ask for great and mighty things no mere man can do.

Great evil always fails because it cannot see its own weakness.

Pray to Prophesy

“Is Saul among the prophets, too?” (1 Samuel 19:19-24)

Take note here that Samuel the prophet and High Priest was hosting a School of the Prophets. In 2 Kings 2 we learn that Elijah later revived the academy for prophets. You have to understand that in Hebrew, the expression “son of” covers more territory than just literal progeny; “sons of the prophets” was a reference to the students in the prophets’ academy.

So what would be the curriculum of such an institution? You can look it up on the Net and get a lot of different answers, many of them vociferously denouncing each other. But it should be obvious if you first understand that Hebrew culture specifically, and the Ancient Near East (ANE) in general, presumed a heart-led awareness. Not that everyone lived by it, but that it was written into the very language of daily conversation with references to the heart rightly overruling the reason.

Once you accept the implications of that, you understand that moral discernment was the chief goal of all education, including the School of the Prophets. It was an in-depth study in soaking your mind in the revelation of God as a Person with a revealed moral character. This was hardly any different than training to for a staff position with any ANE feudal lord — you had to understand what the lord was like as a person and what it took to please him. A School of the Prophets would be founded on a curriculum of making sure your mind understood the ground rules of what God expected, and how He acted in human affairs on this earth.

Granted, that was a common expectation in Hebrew education as a whole. See Deuteronomy 6:6-9, and in that context, Jeremiah 31:33. The idea was not the literal memorization, but using that written expression of revelation as the gateway to a deeper moral awareness. Your brain can do only so much; it requires the backing of the heart where the fires of conviction burn. Inform the mind and it has some idea what to expect from your convictions. The School of the Prophets was a more concentrated form of this training, and included a lot of prophetic experiential lore, stuff that wasn’t written the Scripture.

One of the things you can discern from Scripture is that God doesn’t always enforce His Word as we might if it were our law. Most of the time, He grants people enough rope to hang themselves. If you don’t want to know Him, you don’t have to. He’ll let you pretend you understand from your human reason and walk pretty far down that path. So we read in 2 Chronicles that the Lord eventually enforced His commandment about sabbatical years on farming, but it was too late for the people to enjoy the blessing from that. That’s how God rules in this world. If you won’t listen to His prophets when they bring a word that provokes your heart, then you’ll face catastrophe in the long run. God is very patient.

Thus, we discover that prophecy as a calling is founded on knowing God’s moral character and His ways in general. On top of that, there must come a move of the Spirit to speak that truth to some audience. That’s something that comes entirely at God’s whim. That’s why Saul and his troops were overcome by the power of the Spirit. Do you suppose they took any joy in that powerful moment? Anyone can prophecy at the whim of God, but few are called to live the life of the prophet. There is a certain sense in which that preparatory study is required of everyone so that you can share in the full blessing should God choose to use you that way. We are all broken vessels, but the study of God’s truth heals the damage. If you absorb the healing truth, then you aren’t discarded once your usefulness has past. He keeps around the vessels He has healed.

This is what’s behind Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 14:5 that prophecy is a more desirable gift of the Spirit. He implies prophecy is also God’s preferred gift to give, if you dare to ask. Study for this gift, because all the others work better with that preparation.

Tell Them You Love Me

(This constitutes a fundamental teaching in our religion.)

My aspiration is your affection.

Mysticism presumes that what really matters is beyond words. We cannot possibly transmit truth, but we can fellowship in our shared truth via human communications. That requires a certain shared contextual language and culture. Our context militates against mysticism, but we agree to use the imagery of our culture against itself. We pretend to share in the culture only so we can tear it down, at least in the sense that we agree not to take it too seriously in its claims about itself. We use it with a knowing wink.

There is a mythology in our culture that human greatness matters. The concept in itself is abused. Even if we accept for a moment the pretense of objectivity as a goal of our cultural vehicle, “greatness” is defined as holding personal significance to a substantial number of other people. It’s contextual, of course. We could say that someone is a “great man” within the context of some discussion, knowing that his greatness won’t easily translate outside that particular realm. But the whole idea is to preempt any need to examine the fellow in any detail, just presume he’s approved and start paying attention to what he says and does.

It’s a form of certification, a license to hold attention. I don’t want one of those, so don’t ever tell someone I’m a great anything. Tell people you love me — or hate me, or don’t give a damn. All that other person needs to know is wrapped up in the context of your personal affection for me. There is nothing objective about this because I can do nothing at all for anyone from the grounds of objectivity. The whole point of my sense of who I am is to combat the myth of objectivity, so a part of that is combating the myth of human greatness. If you’re going to pay attention to me, it’s because something totally subjective calls your name.

Otherwise, it can’t bless you.

The great blessings of God come with the presumption that we enjoy them in a flawed context. Further, our greatest blessing is actually the company of flawed people. There aren’t any other kind of people, so we have to build a counterculture that presumes to love anyway. Notice that this is not despite flaws, but in part because of the flaws, for it is the mixture of flaw and goodness that gives us our identity.

So we make much of transparency about those flaws.

Now, we also need to take a moment to revisit the issue of privacy versus secrecy. Generally, a secret is something kept from your awareness that has at least the potential to affect you. A private matter has no effect on you. The same detail of information can move from private to secret depending on your involvement. There is plenty you’ll probably never know about me, if only because there’s no way I can put it into words. But the closer you get to me, the more access you have to my privacy because it starts to affect you.

You really do not need the burden of knowing and processing something that won’t affect you. Thus, my sense of privacy protects both of us. There are things I really don’t want to know about you, either. Some stuff becomes clutter that hinders a proper moral focus. It’s an art to distinguish, and we justly rely on the heart for the wisdom to decide something like that.

Of particular interest in all of this is when someone feels driven or pulled into religious leadership. That presumes a certain moral probity, a certain moral authority — a certification of sorts that justifies their claim to a hearing on the matters of religion and morality.

But the defining issue is not the leader’s personal moral perfection, but their transparency. You really do need to know enough about them to place their message in context. In our culture, though, this is a lie. In fact, it’s a really big lie. It’s hard to find someone in religious leadership who is even permitted to assume that kind of transparency. Their followers are typically dragging around this baggage of “speak no evil of the leader” who is universally proclaimed “a great man”.

My personal experience hanging out with religious leaders bears this out. You would think they were eager to confess their flaws in private because they would get into trouble for a wider transparency. So once I manage to wander inside their circle of leadership, they unload all sorts of things they simply cannot say from the pulpit. And the difference between the private person and the public face is often shocking. I found it the most revolting aspect of working in church leadership.

I’m driven so hard to fight this beast that I have often said and done things that shocked the flock. In the context, it was embarrassing only in that I might feel forced to buy into the mythology, if only for the moment. Once I got away from that atmosphere, my own convictions justified my divulgence. I’m reluctant to treat anyone like a pig who can’t use any pearls.

Whatever you do, don’t call me a “great man;” just tell people you love me.

Just a Little Closer

(This is the prophetic portion of today’s message. The instructional background is on the other blog.)

Standard caveat: Never treat my prophetic messages on par with divine revelation. It’s nothing more than my attempt to share something beyond words that I experience as divine moral reality. I am wholly likely to fail at any given point; God uses whomever is available. I’ve made myself available, and if you can do a better job, what the heck are you waiting for? Meanwhile, I cannot be silent.

You can’t see this with your rational senses, but another increment of wrath has been set loose on the world. In fact, the normal sources for news can’t cover this because they don’t have a heart sense about the moral truth of things. What it means is that the next echelon of demonic power is on the march.

Whatever bad stuff you can recall has happened in the past few weeks will get worse. What demons do is deceive people who have rejected revelation. The level of deception gets uglier; the resulting choices people make will get uglier. It makes not a dime’s worth of difference whether any of the actors are conscious of their moral evil, because the deception envelopes all things like a fog.

We expected this, so why am I telling you about it?

Do you recall in Acts how many times Paul was warned about going to Jerusalem? Yet he went because of a divine moral necessity. The idea is not that I’m trying to stop anything, or get you folks to organize and stop things, but that God has always offered some element of informed consent. It’s His nature to reveal, not hide things. He always gives us just a little more than we can handle, though we might imagine ourselves wishing for more detailed data. Rather, He always gives us full moral content — that heart-mind awareness beyond words — so that we can approach things in mature faith.

I’m fully confident this not The Apocalypse, but John’s visions do foretell how tribulation works when it comes. So this thing we see before is apocalyptic in nature; it follows a revealed progression. It comes in waves with short pauses between them. It hardly matters whether the folks who believe they make the decisions are trying to make us miserable; they still don’t have a clue what’s really going on here. Their wish to harm is still shaped by demonic deception.

And that deception is about to get nastier. Don’t stop what you are doing, just be aware that the fire is getting hotter. You won’t get burned, not really. The Devil cannot touch those who cling to heart-led faith. He is bound by the same moral laws that govern everything in Creation. His reach toward you is shortened by your obedient intent. But it’s almost guaranteed that some things you were counting on will fail, because we can’t possibly understand it well enough to pass through this with no surprises.

So my point here is that my prophetic senses touching the moral realm tell me that today stuff shifted into a higher gear of moral wrath. Brace yourself. The crazy shit is going to get a little closer than before.