And now, here is the continuation of » Righteousness & the Fearless Hoverboard of Faith.
» The Hoverboard of Faith & Living in the Moment
Tho the faith stuff is cool .. cuz is kinda feels like you're riding a hoverboard of sorts .. that is the impression, tho it would take too long to explain right now. A hoverboard that you build by a process similar to gardening. =)
An invisible hoverboard that you "step on." Just cuz you can't see it however, doesnt mean you can't "detect" or perceive its presence. Very clear sense.
So while you might not know when you're out of it, you definitely know when you're in it, when you're in faith (.. like how you know-that-you-know .. when you're in love).
And here is the deal [ i just noticed ] » you run into parts of yourself .. parts that may be less than perfect. So a commitment is required .. on this end. And I have committed, but left the actual implementation to him.
One unusual thing about faith .. is that it seems to operate only in the present. It can certainly operate ON the future .. tho the future does not yet exist .. and the past is gone. The past has been relegated to history.
So learning to live IN THE PRESENT is one of the main things I've been working on lately. But that's a whole nuther story .. and I am still working on it.
But if you think about it a sec, you'll see that you can't believe anything yesterday, cuz you're not there and the past is forever gone.
And you can't believe anything tomorrow, cuz you're not there (yet) and "the future" never arrives. Now, you CAN believe something tomorrow .. but only when tomorrow becomes today. Is this not intuitively obvious? .. to even the most casual of observers? But there's no need to wait.
So .. far as walking-in/by-faith is concerned (ala Habakkuk) the only time that matters/counts is » the ever-present now. .. which poets & philosophers & lovers call » LIVING IN THE MOMENT.
» The Coolest & Most Artistic Signature
I am not positive, but I think .. that the way the deal works .. is that ..
Cuz, if you could have thought of it yourself, that means it coulda came from you. (Obvious, no?) I think the word here is » confirm.
And I hear He doesnt play favorites .. so you will see what I'm talking about. (When you least expect it.)
My experience is .. these are 'things' that likely mean nothing to ANYBODY BUT YOU. If you say to somebody, "Look at that! Look at that!" .. they will shrug and say, "Look at what?"
One may be easy to write off as mere coincidence. Two would be more difficult, but still possible. But after the third, you think, "No way can that be mere coincidence."
Oh, and TIMING .. pay attention to timing. Cuz time is really part of space (.. even tho is doesnt seem that way). It is always a cool thing when a glitch-in-the-illusion created by our brains (electro-chemical impulses) enters the spotlight of our consciousness. Very cool.
» The Signature that Spans the Centuries
Tho it certainly feels that way, sometimes. Easy to get the big head when God starts pulling strings and prep'ing his canvas.
I dont know why it is .. but you usually can't notice the signs until AFTER the fact .. even tho they were right there in front of your face .. sort of like the way an economic bubble works, or a credit bubble .. in that you can only recognize it AFTER the fact.
Seems like it would make things a lot easier .. if you could see in real-time .. instead of navigating by faith.
That much becomes clear. Rather quickly.
In other words » it Aint Me, dawg (.. notice that I've said it twice, now) .. which is the same thing that ALL the prophets down thru the ages have said. Not hard to figure that out. If I recall correctly, this is very similar to what Jesus said.
••• today's entry continues here below •••
» The Blast Furnace of Trials .. not for the Faint of Heart
Tho there is also what I call a "time delay" .. between seed-time and harvest. If you plant an acorn today, it doesnt become a full-grown oak tree tomorrow. And you will not believe the soul-wrenching shit that can come during that time.
So notice » that there IS a testing .. of you faith. It certainly feels however, as tho you yourself are being tested. Way deep in your soul. If you expect it .. maybe that might make it easier .. to deal with. I dunno. Might help.
This testing seems to be a refining of sorts. Certainly feels that way.
I don't want to scare you, or bring back "an evil report" .. but I feel it would be a disservice to gloss over the shit that can come. The "trying of your faith" can make a blast furnace seem like a walk in the park .. on a warm summer day.
[ Regarding the notion of orientating TOWARD pain (.. instead of running away from it) .. note that the FIRST THING that the Spirit led Jesus to do .. seems like an unpleasant thing. The wilderness. Starvation. The Devil himself. (Mr Evil.)
The Spirit LED Him straight for what most of us would characterize as "pain-n-suffering". Definitely in that direction. Notice the pattern. Toward the unpleasant first. (Not luxury-first, as your average Christian seems bent toward.) ]
» There Will Be War in Your Soul
Playing for keeps. Like your very soul is being ripped apart.
I can see now why Jesus says, "narrow is the way, few there be." Have to really want it.
Which reminds me of the famous quote:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
You have to really want that.
I think this is why faith is necessary .. cuz I see no other possible way .. to get from here to there.
One thing I found helpful is that the shit comes "for the word's sake." That helps me to not take it personally. [ The crows come for the corn. In other words, when the corn is all gone, they will stop coming. I sometimes feel like pterodactyls are dive-bombing my ass. ]
After a while .. you learn that it's actually a GOOD SIGN when the shit is coming. That's why you count it joy. Peter put it » this way. Notice you dont resist in your own strength. (Cuz you will get your ass kicked.) One translation adds the phrase "will Himself".
The "shit curve" (.. as I call it) .. seems to follow that of a standard Bell curve. Starts easy .. gradually increasing .. until you feel like you are ready to cave .. then it gradually diminishes. That's my experience, anyway. Your milage may vary (YMMV).
» Whatever it Takes
The shit comes to get you to turn loose of [ .. give up, surrender, abandon, forsake] you faith .. in a particular promise .. and surprisingly vigorously, I might add.
But after you get your butt kicked enough times, you start to learn a few things .. such as » the shit does not matter. It only matters if you let it steal the promise from your heart.
And it seems like the longer you hold on and hold out, the more severe the shit that comes. The thought, "I don't know if I can do this" or "I don't know if I can make it" does not seem very far .. at all.
And it seems totally counterintuitive, because the shit is really unpleasant and very nasty .. but you need to get to a place where you start to ENJOY this shit. "Bring it. That all ya got?" Cuz it's only a "good fight" if you win.
This notion, I guess, could be viewed as mirroring the Buddhist notion of escaping pain & suffering .. by GOING INTO it .. because the WORST part of suffering is the fear of suffering. I should go back and add this insight to my JAIL entry.
It took me a long time to figure out that the reason James writes (the very first thing he says) » consider it all joy .. is beause of what Jesus said » here. Seems like a long way .. from point A to point B. For me.
Perhaps this is because you can only get there by faith .. and I have come a long way.
I know it sounds cliché .. but it really doesnt matter how many times you crash-n-burn, or how many times you get your ass kicked. The only thing that counts is that you Get Up and go on .. hopefully learning something in the process.
I mean, I am fairly confident .. that when you get to heaven, you will see my name listed there .. in the Heavenly Guiness Book-of-Records .. for the person who got his Ass Kicked the most times.
Speaking of commitment .. the first thing I learned .. was that you dont STEP on a hoverboard .. one foot a time. No. Rather, you JUMP ON. With both feet.
Some of the more poetic types have termed such "jumping" as taking a » leap-of-faith.
» The Technology of Living by Faith
That's why it is called » the word-of-faith.
Just like an acorn contains everything that is needed / necessary to grow an oak tree. (And why the sower sows the word.)
Have you noticed how man, who can do lots very cool stuff, and plenty of truly amazing stuff, cannot make a seed .. something that you can plant in the ground and that will grow something .. that is ALIVE.
So faith becomes something of an INTERLOCK .. to the promises. Or to put it another way .. it is as tho YOU HAVE THE KEY .. to bring it to life. (Because you do.)
I can't quite get my head all the way around it, but even this vague impression looks like an impressively elegant design. Easy to operate, but severely discriminating.
So it kinda feels as tho faith serves as a decryptor to the (faith-encrypted) promises. Does that make sense? (I admit I'm reaching here.)
Now, at first glance .. it certainly APPEARS .. that the system [of accessing the promises] is simple enough to operable without much trouble.
But .. while spinning the dial on the combination-protected safe .. which contains the jewel-encrusted promises .. you find it can't be gamed .. by your mind / intellect .. because it is YOUR HEART that holds/contains the key.
» Faith & the Heart
That's why Paul calls it a fight, and Peter compares the process to trial-by-fire. Not for the faint of heart. But other that, you just plant the divine seeds (in your heart) and it does the rest .. automatically, perfectly, on its own, just like a seed of corn. Or an acorn.
And just like the way that righteousness takes you straight to » faith .. faith takes you straight to » those things which we say .. and those things, of course, be » words we speak. Living by Faith, it would seem, places a high priority on words (.. spoken in faith).
It may sound like a piece of cake, and I must admit, it certainly looks that way. But in practice .. this is no easy chore (.. let me tell you) .. but rather this a conversation to save for another day .. cuz I'm still getting up to speed here.
» Navy Nuclear Power/Propulsion & its Culture of » Verbatim Compliance
Along these lines of WORDS being important, however .. there is another major influence from my nuclear / military days that definitely helps » verbatim compliance.
Verbatim compliance is really the hallmark of the Navy nuclear world. Word-for word compliance. And word BY word.
"Complete all of step #1 before beginning ANY of step #2. Complete ALL of step #2 before beginning ANY of step #3."
Now you might think such micro-managing instructions that labor the obvious would be .. uh, tedious. But they [nuclear military demigods] cross every t and dot every i. I mean, you never find yourself wandering about .. wondering .. how you are going to accomplish/perform the next task.
No, sir. Rather everything is spelled out for you .. in agonizing detail. And if you ever arent sure about something, you never make a command decision yourself. Oh no .. rather you ASK .. let your boss take the blame. =)
He, of course, will in turn ask his boss. And so the story goes. Engineers make most/all of the (very few) procedural questions that arise (.. as in THE Engineer. I'm talking about a position, not a line of academic study).
So you get in the habit of reading carefully each word (.. of the procedure). Never in a hurry when reading the procedure. Because you live and die by the procedure. You can melt down the entire reactor .. send it to China .. but if you followed the procedure, you're golden. No one can touch you.
Now I will not lie and say there is never any corner-cutting. There is .. cuz there are very many procedures. But you only cut those corners where your are SURE. And where you know intimately what lies on both sides of the corner you are cutting. And you never out-right BREAK a procedure.
In other words .. there's never any guesswork involved. And all bases remain covered. Because the Procedure represents the LAW .. and you know that you will be held accountable. And mercy is not part of the deal. Cuz mercy tends to put everybody at risk.
But god help the man/team who wrote the procedure. Of course, they never make a mistake .. ever. (Really.)
» Nuclear Mindset Applied to Hoverboard Op-Test
And I find this same nuclear-grade experience occurring with this Living-by-Faith, hoverboard thing. I analyze words closely .. comparing each one with concepts I have already observed .. in other places.
Cuz .. whereas the nuclear military procedures are very clear .. the instructions that come with God's hoverboard seem to be written in a strange code. Decrypted only with a faith-algorithm, if you will.
Cuz you can read something a bunch of times .. and KNOW that there's something there that you should be getting or need to get/see .. when all of a sudden (one day) » CLICK! .. on goes the light ..
.. and you can't believe that you didn't see that before. Seems like it should be intuitively obvious to the most casual of observers .. that a 1st grader could see.
By the way, returning to an earlier topic .. the 2nd most prominent nuclear value / cultural icon that they drum into your head (repeatedly, with big sticks) is » Believe Your Indications! (.. as provided by calibrated gages.)
» Taking the Hoverboard for a Spin Around the Block
And this refocusing lies at the HEART of the Living-by-Faith .. learning to operate the hoverboard. In other words, we need to start focusing on different gages .. the gages of the hoverboard, if you will.
This is kinda where I am right now .. 'experimenting'. Trying subtly different things (on purpose) .. following my intuition .. and seeing where they take me. Consciously exploring each aspect of the hoverboard. Turning it upside down .. and seeing how it responds to various stimuli.
And I can confirm that this intuition leads me down paths that I could easily characterize as 'uncomfortable'. Every fear I have ever had (and some I didn't even know I had) .. seems to be an object of exploration.
Normally I would need lots of encouragement .. to explore things/areas/avenues that I fear .. but when the Hounds-of-De$peration are barking at your heels .. you need less. The hounds provide motivation.
Cuz I'm pretty confident that I would not be here (.. riding this hoverboard) .. if I could simply write a check. Like I used to be able to do.
» HB's Pre-set Auto-Pilot Targeting » the Promise(d) Land
To the point that I am surprised I feel no sense of fear .. even tho it certainly seems like I should.
Hard to describe .. cuz, in a way, it feels like you could easily start freaking out.
Certainly makes for an interesting ride .. must say .. especially when we start venturing toward those, "Why are we going down here?" places.
Currently I am exploring the exact moment .. the precise instant .. when you SET YOUR FOOT ON the hoverboard. When you start to believe. When you start to live by faith.
And the best word I can come up with here .. to describe HOW IT FEELS is » swallow. It's as tho you swallowed something. Something substantial.
I'm also exploring the role that the will plays in this (.. the thing we use to make decisions) .. how it is involved in riding the hoverboard.
Because, from a certain perspective it appears as tho the will is of little or no significance. Yet, from another .. it seems as tho the will is ALL important. (I'll figure it out soon enough.)
I heard one guy say that it takes no effort whatsoever on the part of the intellect or the will .. in order to believe God. That faith comes (automatically) with the light.
I'm also exploring the line between faith and presumption. Because, I can assure you I have no interest in crashing. (I already have enough bruises.) Slow-n-steady is how I approach new things, especially powerful things. "What does this glowing red button here do?"
Tho, it should be noted that there is nothing mysterious about faith .. it is simply » believing (.. with the heart, not the head/intellect).
Okay .. here's something I just figured out .. that the reason you wind up taking some interesting routes .. is cuz the hoverboard has preset settings .. like a homing pigeon .. so it knows (itself) where to go .. where to take you. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh.
And that, my friend, is called the Promise(d) Land. Might wanna buckle up. In case it gets bumpy. [ It did for me. ] I can guarantee it won't take the route you thought it would .. and it won't be easy. No. =)
Some say there be giants living in the Promise(d) Land. Ugly ones. Should be interesting.
Things improve once you get a "feel" for faith .. once you find your groove .. cuz, at first, riding the hoverboard can seem mechanical.
» Have to LET Faith Work | Can't MAKE it work
Perhaps a better way to say this is that .. you put your trust in the ability of God to bring the promise to pass .. rather that in your OWN ability (.. to bring it to pass).
I admit to some vagueness here .. tho I am clear (very clear) about resting / trusting in the ability of the oak tree to grow itself .. and not getting impatient and trying force / make something happen .. before its due season.
I found Peter's advice here very helpful. Because you quickly (very quickly) realize that » you CAN'T DO IT IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH .. which is why He gives you his. [So you have to depend on (trust in) His.]
All that we are responsible for, it would seem .. is » walking in the light of what we know .. which should never stop growing .. like the oak tree (.. planted by the rivers of water). That's something anybody can handle. One step at a time.
I have been very interested in the exact moment WHEN you STEP ONTO the hoverboard .. when you believe, when you start acting like you really believe .. and I have been exploring this, conducting little experiments (on myself).
This topic could be an entry of its own, but I will simply say here that .. the process of mentally agreeing that some promise / verse in the Bible is true ..
.. feels like butterflies flitting in and around your HEAD (cuz that's where you mind is). Certainly thought-provoking. Usually very pleasant. Maybe even amusing.
While the act/process of believing .. feels like you SWALLOWED something substantial .. or significant, even weighty substance. Notice how Paul says » "Faith is the SUBSTANCE ..."
You can feel / detect that substance. It has an energizing effect. There's no guess-work involved. [ Do I really believe? ] If you're not sure, you're not in faith. That's why I feel a better translation of the word rendered 'substance' in the King James version (1611) is » assurance.
Tho an interesting tidbit I learned along these lines is that » faith will work in your heart with doubt in your head. (Last sentence worth re-reading.)
The mind seems to have blind spots (or flaws) regarding the things of god. In other words, you don't have to 'figure out god' before you can take advantage of his promises. The system is (by Design) more user-friendly than that.
If we had to figure out God before getting anywhere with him, we'd be waiting a while.
» The Scariest Part
Not sure if 'scary' is the correct word to use here, or the best word, but you get the gist.
Perhaps the word 'awe' would be a better choice. But awe doesnt quite do it for me .. which is why I use scary.
[ Awe rather describes how I sometimes feel about Parenting .. its responsibilities .. of caring for those who cannot yet fend for themselves, which naturally includes the consequences of abusing that responsibility. ]
I have to believe that Moses would concur.
Here's some 'insight' you might appreciate. (I certainly did.) Notice how, in the chapter where Saul gets knocked on his ass (.. while on the road to Damascus) .. when he was not yet on the right team. And he writes that he was "trembling".
In other words, Paul is speaking from EXPERIENCE .. first hand experience. A "terrifying" experience.
So it should not surprise you .. that the very next verse .. in Ezekiel, right after the one that talks about God being a "fire from the loins" both up & down .. uh, we find Ezekiel on the ground. [ "I fell on my face and heard a voice saying..." ]
Now, you can ask Ezekiel yourself .. but I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts .. that he wasnt TRYING to fall on his face.
Not the caged kind you see from the safety of your local zoo. Amos never been to the Bronx zoo.
He's talking about the days when a roar meant your ass might be on the local dinner menu. The blue plate special. That's you, dawg. All-you-can-eat buffet. (While quantities last.)
» the Self-righteous
Malachi uses the eyebrow-raising phrase » great-n-dreadful. Two words most folks would rather NOT see paired together. G-n-D.
And IF the Walking Torch does not look happy, not pleased, I could imagine that this is something which could easily be characterized as a 'bad day'. Cuz, even when you KNOW that he is FOR you .. it can still be unnerving .. so overwhelming is the power.
Here's a thought experiment you can try. If you record the sound of roaring flames, and then record the sound of a "rushing mighty wind" .. and then play them both back, while wearing a good set of headphones ..
.. one after the other .. in a blind listening test .. I bet you will be hard-pressed to tell the difference .. to distinguish one from the other .. to identify which is which.
If you dont already know what I'm talking about, and scripture is correct, then you will. Someday. Someday soon. Cuz that earth-suit you're wearing is good for only 70 or 80 years. Ninety .. if you take real good care of it and get real lucky.
In other words .. they do not come with a lifetime warranty. They all end up as food for worms. With few exceptions. Very few. Very, very, very few.
.. that is can be disorienting to try and operate according to a completely different set of 'rules' .. where you not only don't have to work hard .. but where you CAN'T .. get what you want/need by working hard. Completely opposite. Can be frustrating.
» The Glory & that Feeling of Being-in-Love
The closest thing I know is .. the feeling of being in love .. that feeling of being exactly where you should be .. and that nothing else in the universe matters (.. as tho you have become one with the universe) ..
In keeping with the tenets of web site optimization, today's entry has been broken into THREE PAGES. Page 3, the final page, is posted here » Righteousness & the Fearless Hoverboard of Faith - Part 3