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.

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.

Gospel Perception

We don’t preach orthodoxy and action; our gospel is essentially awareness.

The heart is far stronger and wiser than the mind. Lots of people already struggle with knowing; despite what their reason tells them, the power to do what they know is missing. There is something inside us that resists what is rational. But when you move your sense of consciousness into your heart-mind, the power to do is frankly hard to resist. Teaching about mercy and what kinds of action might fulfill our convictions is just a matter of shaking people loose from their old patterns.

When I go outside to pick up trash, it’s not as if some new sense of factual knowledge fills my head on finding the hidden pollutants. It’s much more subtle. It catches me out of the corner of my eye. There is no guilt if I happen to miss something and see it later. But the truth of God living in your soul calls to you from the center of your being. You don’t perform the mission; you become the mission. All you really have to do is fix those things inside of yourself; the world takes care of itself. Just conform to your own convictions.

But we also know that what we propose to the world is such a dramatic shift in human consciousness that we have no words. Truly, I don’t see how you can say your are heart-led when you end up with visions of uniformity. The sea change we seek is under the surface, not confined to mere human response. We want folks to lose themselves in the truth. Changes in the observable context must come as a result, but they are not the objective. Changed behavior is a symptom. You can’t teach symptoms; they manifest on their own. We have no vested interest in the literal outcomes.

Our vision should be an awakening of the sensory heart and the heart-mind awareness that cannot be seen with eyes.

Toward Eden

If you go outside today and speak to the grass, flowers, trees and birds, you’ll discover that they aren’t too worried about Brexit. The rocks and dirt may seem untroubled by the 500 trillion dollars of notional derivative debts held by banks around the world. And I’m willing to bet nature won’t offer much discussion over the likelihood of major global warfare breaking out between the major military powers.

They will tell you of our Creator’s love and the blessings they offer to people who live from their hearts. And they’ll reassure you that they intend to stick around and keep offering those blessings until God is ready for the Final Redemption. Meanwhile, they beg us to manifest the moral character of God so that they can enjoy just a little preview of that ultimate revelation.

It’s not that those fallen human threats have no meaning, but that we cannot face them properly until we learn to listen to the unfallen rest of Creation. Mankind wastes an awful lot of effort and resources on things that don’t matter much. Should there be some awful cataclysm and massive death event, Creation will still be here as long as God wants. Granted, His Word says that humans won’t be exterminated before The End of all things, but nothing in His Word prevents things continuing for a lot longer than many Bible readers imagine.

Instead, His Word hints that what triggers Christ’s Return will be something too subtle for the world at large to notice. You can’t perceive it with fleshly senses or understand it with reason. Some significant portion of humans will rise up to seize the heritage of redemption in the here and now, and it has nothing to do with politics and material wealth. It’s the heritage of peace with Creation as a part of Creation. Peace with Creation hinges entirely on peace with God and vice versa. It’s all one thing.

Recall the teaching of the sensory heart. It’s a sensory organ in its own right, with a separate “brain” capable of processing what encounters that sensory field. Open your awareness to the heart; recenter your sense of soul there. In the Bible, the heart was not about emotions, but the seat of the will, the one part of us able to connect directly to God. It’s an entirely different faculty of awareness that we call “faith” and enables you to see the invisible moral truth woven into Creation. That’s the character and Presence of our God.

Sure, bad stuff is coming. Fallen people with no heart-sense at all have piled up death and destruction, blindly seeking what cannot satisfy. God has already unleashed His wrath on this generation of fools. The saints of God will tribulate, but we have the advantage of seeing things through the eyes of our hearts. We are held tightly by the promise of God that whatever happens will not hinder our mission and calling.

Use that sensory heart; get out and talk to Creation as often as you can spare the time for it. Make time for it. Chances are there will be precious few humans around you who share that gift, but even they will suffer as you do with a long way to go to make it work as God intended. Let’s pass through that Flaming Sword of revelation and repentance, the self-death of redemption by joining Jesus on the Cross, and let’s head back toward Eden. That’s what we are designed for in the first place.

Divine Amplification

We can never accurately predict actual outcomes.

I am acquainted with the Social Sciences and the reasons they exist. It’s an attempt to analyze human behavior at large and quantify what goes in and what comes out. There is a broadly recognized imprecision, with constant effort to account for data that might have been missed. Meanwhile, we are acutely aware that some data is forever lost. These days, most of the effort is wasted on chasing new models to structure existing data. It symbolizes the frantic band-aids attempting to save the rotting structure of Western Civilization.

Fans of the classical Enlightenment view of Western Civilization — the true believers — lament the current trendy hostility to Western culture. You can find endless examples of people frankly agitating to kill it. For example, we see all the defiant political leaders forcing their subjects to absorb culturally hostile immigrants. It constitutes an invasion in effect. While those who promote this de facto invasion blather endlessly about diversity and enriching human culture, some of them know for a fact that’s a lie. Some of the folks pressing this trend have confessed that peaceful coexistence is not important in the long run. They’ll pay any price to destroy what they can’t control and reshape to their satisfaction.

You don’t have to be a member of the choir here at Kiln of the Soul parish to understand the moral blindness behind all of this crap. I’m hardly the only writer who presses the biblical teaching that we humans are hard-wired for tribal existence. Cosmopolitan is okay in the marketplace, but God Himself has warned us not to bring it home. We say that, not because we believe that there is one pure tribal culture, but because humans are inherently tribal regardless of the which flavor of culture you embrace. Pick one, but if you want to harvest God’s shalom, you must create a rather closed social enclave or you’ll waste time with all sorts of things that you cannot and should not pursue.

Nobody said you can’t mix diverse folk into a genuine covenant household of faith, but they do have to unify like a family. They do have to become their own unique social enclave; this must be the core your moral existence in this world. You can’t afford any competing claims on your loyalty. It’s a lie of Satan that clannish social barriers always result in hostility. The lie (in America, at least) arises from having only the one culture — Anglo-Saxon — as the model for tribal existence. Isn’t it funny how the agitators are buying into the same fundamental lie, presuming that Anglo-Saxon mythology is the sole/best inherent model of humanity? They keep designing solutions that presume the myth is true.

We could characterize something very fundamental to our faith: Arguing with God is the definition of sin. Granted, there can be problems with that if you rely on English Bible translations too much as accurate representations of God’s revelation. Rejecting a bad translation is not arguing with God. We will never completely understand the Bible. That’s not to say it’s an impossible task, but that we can never rest; we can thorough if not complete. The most important factor is not your intellectual acumen on the Scripture, but whether the Word within the words of Scripture holds your attention. God chose this means to reveal Himself in support of the long history of humans who knew Him and passed His truth one-on-one. The objective of Scripture isn’t factual knowledge, but personal acquaintance.

In my Bible study notes on Jeremiah, I wrote in reference to 1:11-12:

Two things were important for Jeremiah’s service. First was to understand the power of God’s Word as something alive, which the Lord stood behind and made it happen. So he gave Jeremiah a vision of an almond sapling (shaqed) to symbolize how God kept track of things. That God stood guard over His word (shoqed) was a play on words, but also we note the almond was the first plant to betray spring, by sprouting before any other.

Jesus taught His disciples a paradox of divine logic that is directly connected to this:

Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” (Mark 4:21-25 NKJV)

If you can listen to your heart and embrace His revelation, He will draw you closer to Himself for a stronger commitment. Your best viewpoint on Creation is standing as close to God as you can get. If you reject His Word, you will be driven out of His Presence. If you walk in His moral character, He will amplify the effects to pour out His blessings on you, to the point you are overwhelmed. If you pull away from His divine justice, He will pile up the curses to ensure you get more than you asked for.

Another element in this is divine polarization (Matthew 10:34-39). Holiness is based on the image of separation from confusion and sin. What we see subjectively, and what others could see in our lives, will gain moral clarity by the sheer force of distance. God drives us one way or another, based on our choices.

If all you know about history is what men can report from the evidence they find, you know very little, indeed. Having already written much on it, I could write more books on what I understand intellectually about the current decline of Western Civilization. I could post an endless stream of articles explaining how the economic and social chaos, much of which is still not accurately reported (or reported at all) in the mainstream media, will progress in some specifics. Still, that kind of analysis won’t do you much good in preparing for the actual effects you might experience. Even the critical analysis of leaked information and connecting the dots of information already hidden in plain sight won’t provide the full picture on any specific tragic event. (For example, the FBI introduced the Orlando shooter to their paid informants who act as handlers for patsies; they told his ex-wife not to publicize his gay tendencies.)

The facts won’t matter without a proper moral discernment. If people wanted to walk away from the lies, God would lead them farther than they could ever dream. The truth is there in plain sight if folks will just catch a glimmer of revelation. Yes, it’s a ton of work that won’t be finished by the time God takes us Home, but it’s better to go Home to Him with something to offer to His glory. The doom on America (or any other country) is because some minimum tipping point of the folks here never accepted their divine call to take the path anyone can take out of their moral blindness. You’d be amazed at how small the portion would have to be for God to offer mercy (Genesis 18:22-33). It varies with the context, but God is no bean-counter. And what a poor representative Lot was of God’s revelation, yet the Lord saved him from the worst of the disaster.

He has a plan to deliver us, too, if we cling to His truth. That’s all we need to really know as the Western world crumbles.

Natural Cathedral

IMG_20160528_160305Notice the new header image. Let it speak to your heart. Granted, it doesn’t do the original scene justice; it’s a vertical scene and I have to crop it to fit a wide display parameter. Still, it oozes with an experience of worship. Thanks to Iain for the image.

Random side note: “justification by faith.” Think about what we’ve said about faith over the past few weeks. Faith is a commitment to walk in the guidance of the heart over the intellect. You aren’t justified by “having” faith. You gain receive justification by living it. Walking in the heart-mind is faith and it is justification. It projects divine justice back into Creation and feeds back to include you in His acceptance.

Our Crazy Ancient New Religion 5

Three short items this time.

One — Be aware that heart-led is not the same as spiritually awakened. So far as anyone can tell, the choice to use the sensory heart and connect your conscious awareness to the heart-mind is universal, a basic function of human existence. It does no require spiritual birth (AKA “born again”) to use it. What happens is that such people will tend to misinterpret their exposure to the moral realm. They won’t have the built-in spiritual awareness that only the Holy Spirit can give. This is why a lot of folks seem aware of operating principles and various portions of divine morality, but don’t have a consistent picture of it. They can see inside the sphere but don’t have a rooted grasp on what they perceive.

On the other hand, a great many people who are spiritually awakened in Christ do not use their heart-mind, which is a major concern for us. So far, the vast majority of folks drawn to our religion are these people. They are already believers, but lack the clear grasp of what to do with it. We can help this latter group of people find their way, but only God can change the spiritual condition in the former group. Nothing says we can’t be friends and witness the truth to everyone.

An awful lot of our ministry looks just like counseling, but counseling is mostly a special form or teaching ministry. We have to engage our hearts to sense what is broken and help them see and hear. The stuff we might tell them won’t work until we help them resolve the blockage between mind and heart. The single biggest problem is the mind rejecting or ignoring stuff.

Two — Everything starts with your location. That’s true on two levels, at least.

On the moral level, you really need to seek a sense of calling from God. Your actual calling is a moving target because life is all about change, but the issue is your sense of calling. It’s a matter of where you stand in God’s business on this earth — Why are you still here? For some, the process is a long one, bouncing a million things off their convictions until something sticks. The process itself is exceedingly valuable.

On the practical level of application, your geographic location can be wrong against the broad moral fabric for reasons that don’t make any sense at all. At any given moment, the power of God working in your body as Creator matches you to a setting that is your “home,” where the means to optimal life (shalom) are waiting. Your divine heritage is tied to a physical location. You are built to be somewhere, and it’s incumbent on you to sense the need to move to another place. You don’t have to know consciously all the details why, but you do need a wider awareness that you are in the wrong place for your calling and your needs. Creation itself can tell you that you need to move.

Three — Western culture gets most things wrong, and it is particularly bad about the relationship between perception and reality. There’s a sense in which Western Civilization is a very bad case of mass hypnosis. Everyone has been taught a fundamental approach on the issue and it’s very wrong, but since everyone agrees to it, the world seems to work just fine that way.

So get this: Your false perception by itself can kill you. Reality is fuzzy in the first place, and a great many people die from simply believing a lie so overwhelmingly powerful that their bodies doesn’t argue. Now extend that outwards and realize that demonic deception can make nonbelievers experience things differently from what a strong believer experiences in the precise same setting. And for all the difference it makes, both experiences are equally “real.”

Yes, reality is just that fungible. You will have to explore this for yourself. It’s not that heart-led believers can’t be fooled, but that demons have a lot tougher time fooling them. Demonic powers depend on perception far more than Westerners realize. The key is a powerful moral awareness of what God says ought to be.

Our Crazy Ancient New Religion 2

It was almost as if someone was crying, injured and unloved.

I turned to the bush and something made me look around behind, under the leaves and branches. There, stuffed in among the limbs close to the ground was an old rotting paper bundle, a multiple rocket launcher from some previous Independence Day celebration. It as all charred and brittle as I pulled it out. The bushed heaved a sigh of relief.

Fanciful imagination? Fine, but I did remove some pollution from the bush outside my apartment breezeway and felt a sense of divine approval in my heart. It’s the same when I pick up cigarette butts and other trash from the breezeway and grass around the building. I don’t do that because I’m some kind of prissy middle-class grouch who worries about appearances, nor is it merely because I can’t forget the military training that makes it almost an instinct to police up litter. I do it because it’s right for me.

It feels the same to me if I eat right or do something to assist my neighbors. It feels the same as reading the Bible or writing a blog post about my faith. It feels like riding my bike and taking pictures of beautiful landscape. It feels like blessing my Father’s name.

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:19-23 NKJV)

Westerners today call it anthropomorphism, but I assert that Hebrew minds took it seriously, sometimes quite literally, that Creation is alive and has a strong thread of God’s moral character. All Creation, your body included, cries out for redemption. The whole business of God’s revelation is to allow us some level of participation in that redemption by ameliorating the effects of the Fall. The Fall is how “creation was subjected to futility.” We embrace the Flaming Sword of divine moral truth, let it burn away our sinful nature, and strive to bring our world back into Eden.

It’s not a question of remaking the world to be like Eden, because the full measure is not possible without God’s final act of judgment on all sin. It’s taking the leverage that God places in your hands and doing what He has called you to do. I can pick up trash around my residence. I can stop on my bike rides and move large objects out of the road, or push aside broken glass. I can eat wild foods and exercise in ways my body tolerates. I can pray and read the Bible and tell others about my faith. But pulling trash out of my friend, the bush, is no less evangelism and redemption than writing books and giving them away.

Holiness is holiness, and the Law of Moses made it plain that God regards sanitation and health as loyalty. We need to break the very bad mental habit of compartmentalizing our religion. God created the heart to hear all of Creation groaning for relief so that we could get involved in His redemption.

Parabolic Training

A parable is not meant to offer a scientific model. A parable is a characterization of something that is alive on a level beyond what words can describe. So a parable is an invitation to explore something with your heart in hopes that your brain is obedient enough to implement some changes demanded by faith.

There is a very literal sense in which all Creation is alive. You will not be able to walk in the full power of the gospel message until you begin to respect Creation as an associate placed by God to assist you in discovering His glory. A part of you is the same stuff as the rest of Creation, but you cannot possibly gain all the benefits and blessings granted by His glory until you form a covenant relationship with Creation itself. It is alive with the moral character of God and He has endowed it with the power to respond to His glory, including His glory in you.

If I begin to make headway in the mission of making peace with God through making peace with His Creation, I am claiming some measure of my divine heritage. As a child of God, adopted through His literal Son Jesus Christ, there is a synergy on a level beyond words where I accept the things He as created and accept His revelation about those things. I cooperate as a child learning to love and conform to His image for me. I am laying claim to the things He set aside for me to use for His glory.

There is no concrete list of what that includes, but it means I can walk about in Creation and hear His voice in the song that registers on the ears of my soul. I can join in that song and celebrate my Father’s greatness. It also means that I learn what sort of stuff I should pray for and thus see my prayers more likely heard and answered. I am in a position to learn how something so clearly the best route to His glory yesterday is no longer the best I can discern today. I have gained in my capacity to respond and that opens doors that were previously invisible.

So for example, the bicycle I purchased in clear conscience three years ago is now not the best thing for my calling, so I begin to pray for a different bicycle. If you don’t see what I see, then you could decide it looks to you like boredom with old toys. That doesn’t hinder my prayer and my faith to believe. It’s not as if I’m seeking the highest priced carbon fiber racing bike, just something that fits into a different pattern of riding (though it will probably be more expensive than what I have now), a pattern that has to change because everything is alive and growing in my soul. Meanwhile, I keep plugging along because I learned long ago that my sense of timing is tied to my fallen flesh, and God’s sense of timing is incomprehensible at best, and certainly different from mine.

So it goes with a lot of things in my life. When I began to pray about getting a tower and some better networking hardware, that stuff happened way faster than I expected. And recently there were some changes in my perception about what made that hardware important for His mission in my life. Then again, some things I sincerely longed for a couple of years ago now horrify me. But if the prayer for those things presumed that it was not so important in itself, but simply the best I knew at the time, then my underlying request of God was for a better understanding.

Cycling has remained important in my calling since before I knew I was called. Somehow I sense that won’t change until I am simply unable to do it, but I consider it something I could drop without whining. I loved running far more, and whined about losing it, but I can tell you it’s gone forever — in this body, at least. I can tell that it still feels like a really big hole in my soul that I can’t run any more. Not everything I long for is what God has in mind, but there is no sense of condemnation about it either way. A major element in my sense of peace is realizing that some things simply defy my grasp this side of Eternity.

My dominion from His hand is limited. But that dominion itself is a living thing. I have to tend it like a valuable steed, because the underlying truth is that it is a living thread of the covenant with my Lord. And as you probably realize by now, that divine calling includes trying to help you, dear reader, to find your own heritage from the Father.

Sometimes the things I offer require that you submit in some measure to my dominion. That’s not my rules; that’s the fundamental nature of things. I can’t extend His authority in me beyond the boundaries of the feudal assignment He grants. By the same token, pulling you into my domain requires I surrender some of my prerogatives. You become a burden of care and I bear a major responsibility to Him for that. In other words, we embrace a covenant of shared dominion. But in the end, I’ll be far richer for it, so I do it gladly. I can only assume you’ll be richer, too. His glory shines brighter because it feeds on such things.

His glory is a living thing, too. It’s blasphemy on some level to act as if any part of our world is inert, or that it reacts only on a mechanical level. Faith literally changes your wiring so that your body works differently. When you focus your conscious awareness on living from the heart, it opens a wealth of living power to change your very literal existence.

While you might be tempted at first to anthropomorphize the stuff in your life, that’s a perversion of the real deal. You can’t fuss at your shoes as if they were impetuous children. Try to keep in mind that the world around you isn’t fallen; you are. Still, it’s no mistake to imagine that your shoes are alive on some level simply because all matter is. However, you are far more likely to experience fellowship and communion of worship with stuff that is more obviously alive and not made by human hands. Parables help to train your brain to cooperate with your heart.