Random Blog Clay Feet: June 27, 2008
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Friday, June 27, 2008


As I rode home with my boss today after being gone all week on a job, I shared with him about some of my feelings about thinking and how little people seem to be willing to do it. I found it very refreshing this week to meet and work with a person who is also interested in serious things about life and is open-minded and willing to dialog and listen. But this encounter highlighted to me how few people really seem willing or interested in doing this. It appears that most people want someone else to do their thinking for them and be their idol to simply follow without considering things seriously for themselves.

The discussion got into this area when we were talking about listening to the radio on the job. I have often been frustrated and felt emotionally agitated whenever I was forced to listen to rock music or country music or other such fare when I was on a job site. But in the construction field that is almost a given. I realized how peaceful it has been the past few months to work with a crew who does not have to have the radio blaring all the time. It leaves room for me to talk with others and to dialog with God internally all through the day without a constant irritating distraction poisoning the atmosphere.

I relayed to him how on one job I had to listen to the abrasive cacophony of talk radio for a number of weeks and how irritating and depressing that was. It rather cured me of ever wanting to listen to it on my own and I couldn't wait to get away from it every day. As we talked about that subject we agreed that the caustic nature of talk radio hosts, whether they be left wing or right wing, is really aimed at accomplishing the same thing. They are all trying to whip up people's emotions and attract followers to adopt their opinions while training people not to think for themselves. They often make very strong generalizations about people and foster in those who listen to them a spirit of bigotry and prejudice. Personally I find this very disgusting and feel that it hardens people's hearts from being able to listen to God effectively.

But exercises and techniques like this are all too common today, and have been for many centuries. People seem to desire someone else to assert strong opinions and sway the public to follow their suggestions. And there is never any shortage of people eager to fill that role for the public. But where are those who are willing to turn away from the enticing words and caustic attitudes of those who teach with itching ears eager to draw an ever larger following? Why are there so few who have interest and desire to seek more truth for themselves and maintain an open mind instead of taking pride in their prejudices and fears?

I am beginning to think that thinking itself is in danger of extinction to some extent. It is becoming easier and easier to have your mind and emotions exercised by entertainment media, talk shows, preachers, politicians and a whole host of other idols offered up for the masses to worship on a daily basis. But just circulating thoughts and feelings and ideas through the mind and stimulating the emotions does not necessarily constitute real thinking. It is really more like riding on a bicycle for exercise but having a motor turn the pedals for you and do most of the work. It may look just like exercise but your muscles will not be benefited very much in the long run.

I have a desire to meet and become friends with more people who are hungry and honest of heart and desire to share a pursuit of real truth without fear of where it may take them. I am not talking about those who pretend to pursue truth but have an ax to grind and refuse to take God into account. I am not saying that God is not working in their life. I just find it hard to connect very much with those who refuse to be honest enough to see the real picture of reality as presented by the Author of reality.

But I often miss the fellowship of sharing a common pursuit and enjoying the company of others who are on a similar journey of discovery as my own. I want to be able to discuss ideas, insights and revelations that I feel God blesses me with from time to time and to receive similar insights from others who also are listening to the same Spirit that I want to be tuned into. I suppose what I really desire is better synchronization, that commonality of purpose and attitudes that make people feel that they click with one antother to some extent. Once in awhile I sense that with someone, but it is all too rare for my liking.

Am I just very narrow-minded and bigoted myself and refuse to synchronize with others as I insist that the problem is with them? I am sure many people would quickly accuse me of such, and I certainly accept that I have a lot more to learn about open-mindedness. But much that is pawned off as being open-minded is more of a counterfeit than it is true honesty of heart.

I believe that a truly open-minded person will be one who is willing to listen to the convictions of God's Spirit deep in their heart and will find themselves more and more resonating with others who share that willingness. It is really back to one of the main issues that has emerged to capture my attention over the past few years – the need to live from the heart more than just from the head or just the emotions.

I am hoping that some of the people we have met recently and are slowly getting to know better are those kind of honest seekers after truth. I realize that I need to treat everyone with the kind of hopeful love described in 1 Corinthians 13 and not judge them or put them in a box. I have been learning the importance of refraining from false judgment and I have seen good things coming from that. But there still remains that deep, unsatisfied hunger for connecting more closely at the heart level with others who will prove to be deep, genuine friends who are willing to invest their trust and their dreams and problems with me and I with them. It is how the human heart is designed and this desire lies behind much of the interactions that go on between people much more than they realize.

But I will wait patiently on the Lord who is the orchestrator of my destiny and the best arranger of my relationships. I find that to wait is better than to lurch. I have spent most of my life lurching from one attempted friendship to the next and then feeling deeply wounded when people seem to feel threatened and begin to pull away from me. I am learning that my first trust must always be in Jesus and His Spirit to arrange things for me instead of me trying to set up relationships for myself. It is part of the maturity project that God is in charge of and in which I have a great deal farther to go.

But as I learn important truths I also want to learn how to think better, to think properly and with the right perspective, and most of all I need to think and question and challenge and absorb with a right spirit that does not poison my heart from roots of bitterness. I need not be nearly so afraid of being wrong factually as I need to be concerned about being wrong or caustic in my spirit. This is the area where I have the most work to be improved and refined. I need to have my spirit sweetened with the presence of the true Spirit of the one who demonstrated a perfect spirit in His life here on earth. And as my own spirit is healed and sweetened and refined it will be easier to connect with others who are presently repelled by the subconscious negative messages they receive from me.

I can only leave it in God's hands and choose to cooperate with His work and timing in my life.

Truth and Relationships

As we approach the end, Satan will do all he can to deceive us. Just because something is religious doesn't mean it is right or honors God. The Word of God is our best safeguard against Satan's deceptive advice. (The Gospel from Patmos p. 187)

When I read this statement this morning it made a real impression on me. It seems that I run into this kind of thinking so often with people, that the more religious-like something is the more people assume that it must be the right thing. But religion as seen in most of the world today is the counterfeit of true spirituality. And most religious teachings have extremely subtle errors or discrepancies in them that can make them fatally dangerous if a person is not willing to examine them carefully.

But there is also the danger of living in so much fear of being deceived that one can never have peace or live with others peaceably who may think differently than themselves. I have been in that position many times and realize that it is also a danger that I must guard against. It is a mindset that nearly everyone is out to deceive me in some way and I must live in constant suspicion of everything people present to me looking carefully for the trap that is hidden somewhere in the information.

But this kind of thinking generally only produces a life of isolation and strained relationships. It also secretly fosters a spirit of pride that I am wiser and better than most everyone else and tend to measure others by my own set of beliefs instead of checking the spirit first. I have been learning over the past few years that it is far more important to pay close attention to the spirit of a person and ask God to reveal to me through His Spirit if this person is sincere and open, whether or not they beliefs may be accurate. This is a much better indicator to use in determining if it is safe to develop a closer relationship with them than whether or not that agree with my set of beliefs just that way that I do.

I have been impressed more and more that God is much more focused on the condition of my spirit than He is on making sure all of my facts and doctrines are correct or not. That is not to say that sloppy facts are acceptable to God. I am just saying that as a matter of priority, God can make much more progress in a life that has a right disposition of openness and sincerity that is filled with misinformation than He can in a person who is sure they have the truth and their job is to indoctrinate others with the “truths” that they have figured out no matter what their methods are.

I think there is strong evidence that there may be many who have “figured out” very many factual truths from the Bible and other inspired sources and may have all the prophecies explained and have their doctrines in line with the Word of God, but who will be lost in the end, not because they overlooked some detail that escaped their careful study but because they failed to allow the entrance of the sweetness, kindness and humility of Jesus to transform their own spirit.

As I was praying early this morning I lifted up my hands to God to release to Him my problems and fears and invoke the authority of Jesus to address the situation of certain individuals for whom I am concerned. As I did so I also began to form words in my mind to receive whatever God had for me. The words took on the form, “I receive you Jesus unto myself...” and suddenly I realized I was quoting from Jesus own words to me. At first I was a little startled and wondered if I was quoting His words and misapplying them. But I sensed the assurance that Jesus intends for me to follow His example and apply His words and sentiments equally in the opposite direction as the way He used them.

If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3)

I choose to receive Jesus to myself that where I am, there He will be also just as He desires to receive me to Himself that where He is there I may be also. The focus here is much more on being close together much more than on where we may be. Jesus, I believe, is much more interested in being close to me than in the amount of accurate knowledge that I have acquired. He desires intimacy with my spirit and wants to synchronize my spirit with His Spirit.

...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20 ASV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5 NRSV)

I want today the peace and contentment that come from the presence of Jesus who has promised to always be with me. I will trust Him to continue to educate my mind with the facts and things that I need to know, but this will happen within the context of the transformation of my spirit as He mentors my heart and shows me how to live and relate better to others.

To help facilitate this I choose to focus on the things I have been learning about what God is really like, His character, His desires, His goodness and faithfulness and never-ending love. I focus on these things irregardless of what circumstances around me may insinuate about Him, for the enemy can distort my opinions about God too easily if I allow circumstances to influence what I believe about Him. But as I insist in my own heart that God's declarations about Himself are true no matter what my feelings or other's feelings and opinions try to infer, I find that I receive strength and hope and encouragement.

When I am afraid I put my trust in Him by focusing on His goodness and faithfulness and promises to be with me always. When I weep I can know that He understands the cause of my weeping and sympathizes with me. When I am joyful He is glad with me as well. When I am in doubt He does not condemn me but is willing to be patient with me while I grow and settle into more confidence in Him.

Thank-you Jesus for the way You relate to me and Your desire to finish the work of transformation that You are doing in me. Thank-you for the many blessings I enjoy, birds than have inspired me, like the great show they put on for me yesterday morning. The Barn Swallows were circling joyfully round and round outside the barn eating their breakfast and singing and flying very close to me as I gazed on with delight. I knew You did that to delight me and I appreciated it very much.

Thank-you for the new friends that I have just got acquainted with who are very interested in spiritual things as I am. We had such an enriching and encouraging time of sharing while we worked together yesterday and I want Your will to be done in this relationship. I release all of my plans and ideas to You and just rest in Your plans for me, both for today and in all of my relationships. I trust in You and Your goodness. Bless me and make me a channel of blessing today for Your name's sake.