Not Against Flesh and Blood

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12 MKJV)

For us, the whole point is the glory of God. Nothing else we might evoke can do so much for us in return. The glory of Christ is our greatest benefit. This is why we say Biblical Law is its own reward; walking in that divine justice is His glory. We enter into His glory where it stands waiting for us.

The only enemy in this endeavor is yourself. Granted, there are lot of folks with varying agendas and interests who see us as a problem in their pursuits, but they are not our problem in return. It is their influence on our choices that is the problem. We have to shut down their entryways into our lives. And for added emphasis, their interests and agendas are sourced in the Devil, so it really doesn’t matter what they believe they want. The problem for you and I is the influence that pushes us anywhere but divine justice and Christ’s glory.

The system in which we live — culture, custom, society, law and government — favors anything and everything except the glory of Christ. Sometimes it helps us understand when we can see particular trends in the system. If you can form an image of what powers the system, and how it keeps people under control, you can discern how Biblical Law is the escape hatch.

There is no single agenda that controls our world. There are multiple agendas, overlapping, competing, and running in parallel. Here is just one example; it is truth disguised as fiction. It represents the global bankster interests, but there are others working at the same time. Conspiracy theories are partly true, but all of the various agendas together are a distraction. There’s nothing wrong with studying them if it’s part of your calling. What I can tell you is that, as I study each one, the one most effective response is always the same thing: Biblical Law. The best way to stay out from under their controls is doing the one thing that we should most enjoy by moral instinct.

Further, there is a certain holy delight in watching their systems crash in the face of God’s glory. We aren’t interested in causing pain, but we can’t prevent their chosen sorrows as God rips their plans to shreds. Instead, we get to laugh about how their demonic ideas don’t produce all the fine things they thought they wanted. It’s amusing to see arrogance deflated that way. Further, it’s such a joy to know that what we do will outlive every system that arises from sinful human imagination.

It’s not so much that we could bring them down as if we were activists and insurgents. We aren’t fighting them in that sense. By clinging to God’s Word, we more often simply slip through evil hands. Biblical Law frustrates their plans to rule us. Particularly in recent centuries do they fail, where systems of control rest on manipulation and deception, herding us into things that serve their interests. While these recent trends are very efficient in herding the bulk of humanity, a heart-led life of seeking Christ’s glory makes us pull away from their virtual chains.

Best of all, we are the hardest target for direct persecution. Together we are like a mist; no weapon can touch us. The one thing that gives us our shared identity exists independently of any of us. Because it is rooted outside this universe, no two of us here will manifest the same profile. About the only concrete trait we share is our fondness for each other, and that’s based on the divine love of Christ. This thing doesn’t depend on any one of us; there is no key figure in this world to keep it alive. It lives on its own.

God has granted us a unique opportunity in these times to shine for Him. Let’s not waste His precious gift, but work while the sun is shining.

Don’t Count on It

Context: I surrendered to the gospel ministry as a teenager. Then, I attended college (Oklahoma Baptist University) to study and train for it. I never made it to seminary, though I never stopped trying to study on that level on my own. I spent hundreds of dollars on books, but eventually kept only a few. The journey out of bondage to Western evangelical Christian religion was long and painful, but it began with something I heard back in college. “The Bible is an eastern book; Jesus was an eastern man. Christianity is an eastern religion.” It took awhile for that to sink in.

During that long lag time from the late 1970s in college to my final departure in 2005, I did my best to volunteer in churches on whatever basis they would tolerate me. A couple of times I was granted an official internship. Several other times I was hired as Music Director simply because no one else would do it, and I just barely could. So I was frequently working as church staff and often hanging out with the pastors in daily work and conferences and just anywhere I could. I was trying to absorb the culture and hoping someone would notice my spirit and talents and sponsor me for something more permanent. While that never happened, I did learn a lot about the culture.

It included endless whining about how the mass of church membership just barely showed up. Never more than something like 20% actually got involved enough to make things happen (by their estimates). Today there is an endless supply of books and studies and programs on how to provoke your membership to a greater degree of spirituality. As you know from reading much of anything I’ve written, it can’t happen because they confuse “spirituality” with “better thinking and acting.”

Now, I will tell you that I did learn how to grow an organization so that more people showed up and put their money in the offering plates. And I was pretty good at that part, but I always felt that I failed because the majority of the people were unchanged. They liked how I could talk and stir up their enthusiasm, but they never did much. They had too many different reasons why they just couldn’t. Eventually, I got used to it.

It was good training in one sense. That kind of disappointment as “normal” made me capable of tolerating the lack of response on these two blogs.

Brothers and Sisters, what we do here makes us total aliens to the mainstream. It’s not that we can’t find mainstream folks who can love us and deal with us; the church leadership wouldn’t let someone like me stay around very long. The honest truth is that what I teach undermines their programs, and I refuse to attend a church where I can’t teach. I will not be silent, so that means they have to marginalize me at best. I’m not going to sit there and sing and enjoy the music and chat with friends and knuckle under bad teaching.

I’ve known for at least a decade that my calling was to prepare, to make myself an arrow in the quiver. I knew that a time would come when chaos would come and then my gifts from God would be activated. The small things I’ve accomplished here were training, sharpening, proving that these things work. A few of you have responded and found this stuff useful. God bless you, because that blesses me. It keeps me on the path, but sooner or later that path will meet chaos. Indeed, my prophetic gift tells me we are all headed for the chaos of tribulation. That’s what I’ve been prepared for; that’s what it will take to break open the somnolence of souls chained to all that bad teaching. It will be my faith and shalom in the midst of chaos that will call to those who suddenly realize they need something they don’t already have.

Now, God can do anything He likes. This could turn into a huge movement of sorts that reaches millions. Let’s pray to that end, but let us also hear with our convictions what God tells us He wants us to believe. Some of you are already with me, standing in faith until He pulls us out of the quiver and launches us into the battle. Some others of you will blossom and join that work. And some of you will tell me about it and we will rejoice together in the miracles. Still, my heart right now says we shouldn’t expect much in terms of numbers. We aren’t doing a religion that is designed to draw crowds and our socio-cultural context doesn’t encourage genuine heart-led conviction.

So while some mainstream Christian leaders know how to game human behavior to attract large audiences, we aren’t in that game. What we do is inherently “inefficient” in those terms. Those pastors struggle to get their huge numbers to really get involved in religion; we will struggle to avoid attracting that kind of audience. We’ll give freely to all who ask, but we know there won’t be that many takers once they understand what it involves. We aren’t building a system that automates religion. What we do is a lot of work right from the start. That’s the only way it will work at all.

Christian Mysticism will never be a mass movement, unless it becomes fake.

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.

Perception Reborn

What would we need to say about building a Christian culture?

First and foremost, our only reason for living on this earth is to bring glory to God, specifically to the name of Jesus Christ. To put a finer point on it, our purpose in living is to let His glory shine through us. He will glorify Himself one way or another, but we are invited to participate in the process.

A primary means of making His glory visible is our laying claim to the divine heritage of shalom — to live a life that harvests His promised blessings. When we stand in the place where His mercy rains down on us, people are going to notice. They may not understand what they are seeing, but the Holy Spirit will draw their attention to our blessed lives.

Those blessings were promised as a condition for living according to revelation. That brings us to our second point: the otherworldly orientation. We know that revelation comes from Heaven into a fallen world. It’s not that Creation is fallen, but we are. We are born under a veil of moral darkness and cannot see reality, only what our fallen human capabilities tell us is real. Revelation teaches us not to trust what our human perceptions tell us, but to place our faith in what God says is real.

Through revelation we discover that Creation is alive, sentient and serving its designed purpose. We learn to displace our human perception with faith and commune with Creation directly because we commune directly with the Creator. He breathes His Holy Spirit into our dead spirits and we come to Life. We awaken to a far higher awareness that calls us to a Home we’ve never seen. We know we have a mission here to point the way out of the darkness, and when that mission is done, we go to be with Him directly. We find ourselves no longer a part of the shadowy existence into which people are born.

So the third point is that we are overwhelmed with gratitude. The overwhelming sense that we are unworthy, yet declared worthy on grounds we could never comprehend, leads us to humility. At the same time, we have the unshakable confidence of His divine favor. But instead of thinking so highly of our favorable position, we live with a deep sadness that so few in this world seek His favor. They know nothing of our joyful Life. It makes us sober about giddy the same time — sober about human frailty and blindness, but giddy about what we have found in Christ.

It would be easy to get lost in our paradoxes, but we have a vast heritage of what this paradoxical existence should look like in seeking His glory. We are told to examine the record of God’s testimony in Scripture and let His Spirit guide us in breathing life into that ancient record. Granted, it’s no small task to discard everything our world values in its arrogant rejection of God’s truth, but we have the assurance that such effort is rewarded.

I testify to you today that it can be done. We can examine the record of God’s people and see with spiritual eyes what it demands of us today.

We can build a Christian Culture.

Misguiding Spirits

What can you do with it?

Keep in mind the fundamentals of moral logic. Stated more expansively, I’m asking that you make that conscious effort to defer to your convictions, written on your heart by the finger of God. Keep in mind that the heart has its own “mind” with a different form of reasoning that rests entirely on moral accountability to the character of God. It’s written into Creation as well as on our hearts.

This has nothing to do with manifesting talents our Western heritage would prefer to ignore, or perhaps consider Satanic simply because it doesn’t fit in with the prevailing orthodoxy. God speaks; none of us fallen humans is authorized to decide for another how He will communicate. However, if your “message from God” conflicts with mine, it’s simply a reason to keep some distance so we don’t get in each other’s way. What we pursue here as a virtual parish would simply not work at all if you can’t humor me and the boundaries I must observe. But the grounds for pushing away from you is not too hard to understand if you have subjected your mind to your heart-mind.

In other words, I don’t care how you get your moral guidance, as long as it is bounced off conviction. I’ll bounce your declarations off my own convictions and decide from there how closely we can work. If it appears your deference to your heart produces comfortable results, we can at least be friends. It’s not a question of orthodoxy because I can’t write it all down in any detailed statement; I have to sense whether your proposal is going to cause trouble to my mission and calling. It’s a living thing, not something carved in stone.

The entire concept of spirit guides is dubious. The record of God’s work in Scripture excludes anything but angels, and we can easily characterize how they operate, because it’s very consistent within the ANE culture. Our culture is so completely alien to theirs that, just as with demons, so I must caution readers that we are ill prepared to deal with the very topic of angels, never mind the actual encounters. The whole thing is so foreign to us that it sounds like mere legend, a kind of mythology that can’t be anchored in our broader sense of what’s real. So when someone tells me they have had some kind of experience with some non-human guiding presence, I have no choice but to ask questions.

For now, there are two primary results that I would expect from any genuine encounter with God or His agents. One is that you will be humble and penitent. Not so much in terms of modeling yourself after any number of cultural models that bear such labeling, but that you will surely set aside arrogance and self-focus. I have no problem with serious self-confidence, by comparison. Two, you would be especially humble and accountable to the Bible. Not slavish bibliolatry, but evincing a sincere desire to avoid conflict with what it teaches. A failure can also manifest in the perverted legalism of proof-texting, too. It’s the message between the lines that is sacred, not the precise wording.

Now it follows naturally that no two of us will get the exact same ideas about how to implement the message of the Bible. If you tell me you reject some portion because you can’t take seriously the presumed author, then I can’t take your claim to faith seriously. That is, I cannot treat you as a brother or sister in the Lord. I can be friends with you, but you’ll be more like a visitor, maybe even an ally, but not a family member.

We have one consistent image of warning from the Bible about guiding spirits — the term in most English translations is “familiar spirit.” It’s a reference to demonic spirit guides, a manifestation of darkness that intends to deceive. It’s primary effect is to guide you in any direction possible except the one God wants you to go.

Go where your conscience directs; that’s the starting point. However, your sincerity of conviction is not binding on me, nor is mind binding on you. I have to obey my own heart.

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.

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.

Sources

The Root of Faith (Radix Fidem) is in the heart; the Sources of Faith are the hand of God in your environment.

Some of you may have been following my conversation with Steven on various points of faith and religion. God can use anyone, including someone as deeply flawed as me. God uses broken vessels because there aren’t any other kind in this world. He always initiates repairs, but the process is never finished until after we leave this world. Christ alone died sinless.

So the Lord can use anyone to ask the right questions, or simply to trigger a revealing moment when the heart is able to break through a long-standing mental barrier. It’s moments like that when I realize this or that issue might require a fresh discussion because even I wasn’t all that clear about it in the past. As always, this is a matter of opening my faith to your examination, not promoting my religion as the model for all humanity. Radix Fidem isn’t religion, but a path to building your own religion. I take it for granted that I cannot help everyone — indeed, I expect it’s very few. I’m called to help some of those who can’t find Christ in the mainstream. I’m out on the slender edge of what the mainstream even recognizes.

By the same token, I’m obliged to stay on the path I see God drawing for me. Conviction is a fancy word to indicate things God has carved into our souls too deeply to ignore. You need to recognize your own, and don’t be surprised if it means drawing boundaries — that business of moral domain. We are all feudal servants to God (ANE feudalism), and He delivers to each of us a portion of His eternal domain to occupy and develop for His glory. That naturally excludes some territory that is none of my concern.

So I press the issue of heart-led awareness as a sort of goal, an indicator of something we all have to explore. Included in this is the firm assurance that fellowship in faith excludes those who don’t take Scripture seriously. We can argue about what it says, but we cannot argue with what it demands of us. While discussion of those demands will inevitably sound like doctrine at times, the point is that I take the Bible as the official record of God’s revelation. We are bound to agree with it.

That does not exclude the vast ocean of ideas that arise out of pagan sources. Where did Abraham get his basic assumptions about God? It was a mixed bag of ancient religious notions. God was able to penetrate this stuff with sufficient clarity that Abraham knew his calling and was able to obey. Like all of us, he had his flaws and made mistakes, but in the end, God recommended him as a model of faith. And Moses? He took Abraham’s intellectual legacy and added a lot Egyptian religious notions, too. It doesn’t take a genius to trace the differences between Abraham’s religious language and that of Moses, though it does take a bit of education. I’m hardly the first person to notice this; I learned it from far better scholars. And on top of all that, Moses also spent a chunk of his life with Jethro, a priest with yet another flavor of religious background.

What Moses produced was not an eclectic intellectual exercise in religion. He did spend that time with God on the mountain. Moses had a direct encounter with God’s Spirit, but he also came from a culture that already took the heart seriously as a faculty superior to the brain. So we know that his heart was ascendant in the process of wading through the influences and recognizing what was true. All truth is God’s truth; to the degree something from any source at all reflects His glory, it is acceptable. The heart knows — it’s the brain that needs training.

Please note for a moment that Scripture also takes seriously the concept that your heart can be wrong (2 Chronicles 25:2). That is, your heart can hold false or divided loyalties. In Hebrew thinking, the heart was the seat of the will, as many scholars can tell you. That’s where commitments reside and decisions are made. Of course, it’s hard to come up with clinical discussion here because the heart itself is a symbolic image, but the faculty of faith (commitment) in your heart can be wrong. Still, the Spirit of God who gives life to our dead spirits is never wrong. But He speaks through the heart into our awareness. Clarity comes from a desire, and consistent intent to obey.

In terms of our human psychology, that could be expressed as simply following your own conscience, but we have to note that the conscience is merely the mind’s own awareness of conviction, not conviction itself. Still, the path to peace with God is obeying your conscience until the conscience discovers by experience what is or is not from faith. Your conscience is alive and needs nurture and development. At some point you can begin to shift your awareness into your heart and learn to test your convictions with less drama and trauma. You can begin to discern more accurately what faith demands of you.

You learn to distrust reason, not wholly, but simply as matter of flesh, same as your various fleshly appetites. They aren’t evil, but they are unrestrained. They have no inherent recognition of moral priorities. Moving your awareness into the heart tends to unite our various internal voices and heal the rifts and conflicts. Still, the intellect is under the Curse of the Fall as the pinnacle of human nature without God. It would naturally get some things right and plenty of things wrong, because it can neither generate nor properly discern moral truth on its own. Moral truth is essentially revealed from the God who makes all things. The universe is built on His character, and only our hearts are capable of seeing that character in the world around us.

Pursue His character wherever you discern it. The world around us is loaded with a very human mixture of truth and deception. Your answer will never be precisely the same as mine. Each of us has to decide what differences and how much difference is a distraction and hindrance to our calling. Fellowship will always be limited as long as we remain in the flesh. As long as you can tolerate what I write, I’m ready to be your pastor/elder. The boundaries are for you to draw internally, as they are for me.

Our Crazy Ancient New Religion 6

You will fail.

That is, lots of things you try won’t turn out as you expect. So the only wise course is to adjust your expectations. Turn failure into learning and learning into victory.

I’ve done what I could in this series to shake loose a bunch of crappy thinking about how religion is supposed to work. It is work, and it is mostly failure for a very long time because that’s how we get better at it. But the whole purpose is not success in those terms; redefine success as perception, not objective fact. It’s not a question of knowing the truth, but your truth. Yours and mine cannot be precisely the same, because God will not let it be that way. Yes, God Himself will see to it that “reality” is varied somewhat between His servants.

That’s why I’ve tried so hard to shake you loose from a view of reality that tries to make it all concrete. The danger in that approach is that concrete itself is alive and God can let you hear it talk if it’s part of His mission and calling in your life. Concrete ceases to be an image of something that never changes. So-called “concrete facts” are more fungible and variable than Western minds are prepared to accept. Stop asking the question of who is right about what they perceived and start asking the question of what is right for you.

Walk in the light you have.

Start where you are and pray that God will reveal where you should be. Don’t take yourself too seriously because it may require He put you through several different places to sojourn on the way to your earthly “home.” Your ideas and expectations are part of the scenery, subject to modification because it’s all a matter of path, not place. We are practicing for Heaven, and that means shedding a lot of junk that won’t get us there because it can’t exist there. A lot of that junk is the structure of processing perception.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping track of what folks around you think, of how they perceive the world. There’s nothing wrong with keeping one hand on that false “concrete reality” thing most people adhere to as they live their heartless existence. But don’t remain trapped there with them.

You cannot demand that reality be consistent across the entire spectrum of your life, much less consistent between two different people. This is why one of our catch-phrases is, “We are creating a new reality.” Reality, as most people think of it, is variable. Not wholesale, like with horror movies or drug-induced hallucinations, but variable in ways that allow plausible deniability of moral truth. Walking with Christ is wholly voluntary. If you don’t want it, God won’t force the issue in this life. Spiritual birth is wholly His choice and initiative, but walking here in this life according to the inheritance that comes with that spirituality is another matter. You are permitted to refuse moral truth on this earth regardless. However, you will never find anything else you imagine that you seek. It will keep slipping through your hands because those hands are continually reaching for shadows.

All the miracles and stuff you could see will remain out of reach until you step into the light of His glory in this moment. And you should fully expect that spotlight will move, not following you, but going where you should be at that point. What’s outside that spotlight is mostly irrelevant. All the noise and movement out there in the Shadowlands is not your concern. Don’t allow the Lust of the Eyes draw you off into mere entertainment and curiosity. Instead, exercise your curiosity in the moral demands of your life here and now.

Realize that somewhere down that as-yet unseen path, you’ll come to place when you can look back and discover what was consistent, what characterized your existence through all the various changes. You’ll begin to know who you are in that sense. Not who everyone says you are, or says you should be, but you’ll discover the person God says you should be. You know — the One who made you? Your “concrete reality” is His moral character, so stop looking at Creation for clues that your intellect can handle. Start looking for clues that only your heart can handle.

What will amaze you is the surprising level of moral consistency you’ll find in other believers on that path. When you stop seeking concrete consistency and seek moral consistency, you’ll find it. There are people in this world who will share this moral reality in ways you never expected. You’ll find heart-minds that “think” just like yours. You’ll find fellow believers who can agree with you on things that mere intellect cannot handle. You are most certainly not alone. Socially isolated at times, but never truly alone. If Creation itself can be a good friend and companion, you have to know that some of your fellow humans are also connected to Creation that same way. God will not allow the witness of His glory to be snuffed out in this world.

And you will discover a whole company of fellow-failures who have more victory than words can tell.

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.