Posted by: John-Paul | August 23, 2015

HERO’S JOURNEY: Mythic Story Structure

Most people don’t feel heroic but I believe every person is the hero of his or her own life story. I believe the Master Storyteller uses the age-old mythic story structure of the Hero’s Journey in the Wilderness experiences of our lives.

The Hero’s Journey has given structure to stories for millennia. It is also used extensively in Hollywood: Wizard of Oz, Titanic, Romancing the Stone, to name a few.

Heros-Journey graphic

Christopher Vogler wrote The Writer’s Journey to detail its stages and character types. He also outlined the information and more here.

I have come to see that the Wilderness experiences God puts His followers through are a type of the hero’s journey. He wants to prepare us to march in triumph to and through the Promised Land of His reign in our lives.

Each of us has a need to change.

  • Some bondage to shrug off
  • Some fatal flaw to overcome
  • Some psychic wound to have healed.

God also has an Elixir of Faith He wants each of us to obtain then share with the world around us.

The trials of the Wilderness/Hero’s Journey are meant to bring about

  • learning to trust in God’s provision and plan
  • obtaining toughness of body, mind, and spirit
  • death of self-will by overcoming temptations
  • commitment to God’s will and
  • hearing instructions for God’s work ahead.

Then we are to return to the world with the Elixir of Faith and proceed with the Missionary’s Journey.

(Coming soon: The Wilderness Experience as a type of Hero’s Journey.)

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)

Have you struggled through a dry place? Have you faced down temptations and committed yourself to follow only God’s will? Have you been healed of the hurts of the past? I’d love to read stories of how God carried you through your hero’s journey.

Posted by: John-Paul | August 16, 2015

Nature of Wilderness Experience

What does a person face when headed for a wilderness experience? What will he or she encounter in the Desert? What, after all, is its purpose?

Most wilderness adventurers have come from some exciting, life-changing events.

  • Israel had just marched out of hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt and escaped the Egyptian chariots by walking through the parted Sea of Reeds. Exodus 14  They were supposed to settle down as a nation under Yahweh’s rule, live His Law, and spread it to other nations.
  • Jesus had just been baptized and had heard the voice of his Father say, “This is my son, whom I love.”  He was to travel about the country, preaching the nearness of God’s reign.
  • Elijah had spent three years hiding from the king then triumphed over the priests of Ba’al on Mt. Carmel. Yet, he fled before Jezebel’s threat on his life. He was told to anoint Hazael to be king over Aram, Jehu son of Nimshi king over to be Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat to be prophet in his place.

Each of these went into the Wilderness south of Israel, if not to Mt. Sinai. Each of them endured

  • hunger (fasting or lack of supply)
  • thirst (At least, Israel needed water from the Rock.)
  • wild animals (dangerous?)

Yahweh wanted from Israel trust in His provision (food, water, protection) and got complaining and calls to return to bondage.

The Father wanted from Jesus

  • trust in His provision (“Come on, feed yourself and make bread.”)
  • trust and obedience to His plans (“Show your power and throw yourself from the Temple.”)
  • trust in His ways to accomplish goals (“I can make the whole world yours if you do it my way.”)

Yahweh wanted from Elijah a listening ear to hear the still, small voice instead of

  • a thundering judgment (prophetic roar against King Ahab)
  • a mighty wind of destruction (drought in Israel)
  • a cleansing fire (sacrifice at Carmel).

I believe God the Father has these goals when sending a person into the Wilderness:

  • to teach that person utter dependence on Him for provision
  • to bring the person to utter surrender of self-will and utter obedience to God’s will
  • to instruct the person how to march in triumph and accomplish His work in the Promised Land and
  • to toughen that person’s body, mind, and will for the battles coming in the Promised Land.

The glad tidings are that Emmanuel; God is with us through all hardships and wilderness experiences. His love and His reign in us make for a much better life than without them.

(Coming soon: Hero’s Journey explained)

What wilderness experiences have you had? How did you know God was providing? What instructions were you given for marching in triumph through His Promised Land? Are you following them?

Posted by: John-Paul | August 7, 2015

My Need to Build a Writer’s Platform

Music to read by:

My Elevator Pitch

Every person is the hero of his or her own life story. At a time of God’s choosing, that person is called to leave his or her familiar world, go on a hero’s journey to the Promised Land, and seek out the particular Elixir of Faith God would give to the world through him or her. My blog offers teaching and encouragement on the stages of the Hero’s Journey and on various aspects of the Promised Land of God’s reign.

My Need to Build a Platform

I am an author. I have an active imagination and a desire to create stories and teachings to offer to the people of my world.
Michael Hyatt and others say that to sell anything these days (books, ideas, products), a person must elevate himself above the crowd and gain a spotlight. Michael wrote the book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. He says a person must offer her ideas and her products on social media: Twitter, FaceBook, a blog, a website.
It occurred to me to couple the concept of the Hero’s Journey with the need for every person to go through a Wilderness Experience up to the Promised Land of God’s reign. This blog is my attempt to offer my world what I have learned about these ideas.

Hero’s Journey

As explained by Joseph Campbell and Christopher Vogler, the Hero’s Journey is a mythic structure used for millennia by storytellers. It is used widely in Hollywood movies. I use it in most of my novels, especially Joshua and Caleb: Journey to the Promise Land. In that biblical novel, several characters have heroes’ journeys.
The Hero is the main character of any story. That person is not necessarily heroic; he may be an anti-hero but he is the person making the journey.
The Journey is a quest to find and obtain for her struggling community or tribe an elixir, some commodity or truth the tribe needs to improve its conditions. The quest involves:
  • traveling to a special world
  • learning how to survive in that world
  • overcoming attacks and deceptions from the Shadow
  • building and managing a team of helpers
  • overcoming the Shadow’s forces to lay hands on the elixir
  • causing, witnessing, or experiencing death in some way
  • experiencing resurrection to a new, changed life and self
  • fleeing with the elixir
  • and returning to the tribe.
An essential part of the journey is the Hero overcoming some fatal flaw and returning home changed.

Promised Land

The Promised Land is the state of being in a person’s life in which he fully trusts the love and provision of Father God and – even in times of crisis – rests in that love. As the writer of Hebrews said, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. (Heb 4:9-10)”
Hero’s Journey to the Promised Land
God calls every person to join Him in a quest into the Promised Land. He wants every one to obtain an Elixir of Faith and return to his or her community to share that elixir with the world. Or he may send the person on a Missionary’s Journey to take the elixir to the people of other tribes.
The heroine must overcome the Shadow in herself, in the world, and in enemy forces to lay hold of God’s truth. This truth will set her free and also set free the people in her world.
The Hero must experience death to himself in order to be resurrected in Jesus and changed into His likeness.

God casts aside all who refuse to enter into that Hero’s Journey. (Hebrews 3:7-4:11) However, He leads in triumph all who surrender to His reign. (Cor 2:14)

Are you on a Hero’s Journey? Are you marching in triumph under God’s reign? What Elixir of Faith has He given you for your world?

Music to read by: Just the Beginning
How are God’s people doing? With all the evil we read about in the news and strange teachings being offered on the Internet, it is not surprising that many are discouraged as they plod through life.
Hi! My name is John Paul DeWalt and I am a writer, an author of novels and short stories. And I am renewing my blog! I am so excited about the good news of God’s reign on the Earth and about the ideas I believe He has given me to share with anyone who will read these posts!
It can be discouraging – even disheartening – to the followers of Jesus the Messiah that the Kingdom of God seems to be retreating before the onslaught of evil in today’s world. In our personal lives, we face
  • so many temptations of human nature
  • so many losses as we stumble through life
  • so much opposition to the work we try to do
  • even attacks against ourselves.
Why continue to serve the Lord? Why keep up the fight against temptations? Why endure the opposition and attacks?
I believe that God the Father wants His people to March in Triumph through the Promised Land of His reign over all the world. I believe the Author of our lives is writing the Book of History and wants to put each of us, His followers, through a Hero’s Journey in the Wilderness then a Missionary’s Journey in the world. I believe there is a Sabbath rest for each of us as we slog through life, fight against temptation and loss and opposition, and endure – as the Word says – to the end.
It is my intention through this blog to teach readers
  • about the Hero’s Journey and Missionary’s Journey
  • about marching in triumph with Messiah
  • and about the Promised Land of God’s reign in the hearts of every one of us.
I wish to encourage all to enter the Sabbath rest of following the Father’s master plan.
My novels and short stories (as yet unpublished) already contain elements of these ideas and I will discuss the creation and eventual marketing of each story. I hope readers will enjoy the tales of my personal history as they relate to the composing of these stories.
Given my love of music and how it often speaks encouragement to me, I plan to add a link to an audio or video of music I deem appropriate.
Please return for more information about my use of this blog and for what I have to say through its content.
(Coming soon: Explanation of Wilderness Experience of God’s people)

Father God holds out His arms in love, waiting to gather to Himself all who would believe in Him and His Son, Jesus. Faith in His goodness and love, shown by obedience to His instructions, allows Him to lead us in marching in triumph and entering His Sabbath rest.

Could this blog become a source of instruction and encouragement in the face of the difficulties of life? 

Will you “Come and see”?

Posted by: John-Paul | October 10, 2013

The Church’s Answer to Socialist Security and Obamacare


I have been reading When the Church Was a Family, a book by Joseph H. Hellerman about the American Church’s need to regain its family solidarity. He says we American Christians are too individualistic in our attitudes and decisions, not caring about the effects of those decisions on the church body. We need to return to the church-family-first ethics taught by Jesus and Paul.

Hellerman wrote that a major reason people of the Roman Empire flocked to the faith was that Christians cared not only for their own poor but also for outsiders’ poor. To me, this is at least a partial answer to how the Church can help today’s poor and needy.


Today’s economic catastrophes are due to government interference in the marketplace. The IRS taxes the rich and gives wealth to the poor who don’t earn it. The Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates as a throttle on the money supply…and prints valueless dollars as well. Excessive government regulations stifle invention and the creation of business. And now, a shut-down government interferes with private business for political points.


What is needed is a totally free (but not laissez-faire) market. Government needs to be limited to punishing murder, theft, fraud, and such. It might do well to become a source of information and guidance (but not a regulatory force) about goods, services, and practices in the marketplace. The economic decisions of free buyers will regulate the behaviors of sellers.

We must also recognize that “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.” Some people are simply unable, unwilling, or lacking in opportunities to make much wealth.

The Church (and other faith organizations) and families – not the government – are responsible to help the poor and needy. In the Old Testament, Yahweh commanded His people to help widows and orphans. In the New Testament, Paul instructed the churches to support their brothers in the faith who were in need.

Foreseen Results

With the government out of the charity business and out of the marketplace, taxpayers will have more wealth to spend on goods and services of the market, thus increasing the economy. People will have more wealth for investment and job creation. They will have more wealth to voluntarily share with the poor and needy. The economy will increase as poverty decreases.

Members of faith organizations will have more resources. Churches will be better able to help decreasing numbers of poor and needy members. Families will be better able to help their own relatives.

This will help bring increase to God’s Kingdom. People will see how the churches help those in need and will flock to take part in the love demonstrated. Yahweh will be honored and His rulership will be acknowledged more and more.

Posted by: John-Paul | August 29, 2013

What’s Wrong with Being Fair? A Lot, Actually

 That’s Not Fair!

How often have parents, teachers, and other watchers of kids at play heard that plaintive cry? It seems children learn at an early age that fairness is something to be cherished. Of course, wise parents teach their kids early that “Life isn’t fair.” I’ve conceived my own interpretation of the complaint. “That’s not fair” actually means “I don’t like this!”

Some people, however, hold on to the notion that things should be fair. My supervisor at work called for three volunteers to work on Saturday. Two women and I raised our hands. Then the supervisor said she intended to “pitch a fit” to get us the day off with the others. Later, I told her I knew two of us wished she wouldn’t bother. (We wanted the overtime pay.)

She said, “But it isn’t fair.”

I said, “Sometimes people don’t want what’s fair.”

There is a lot of good unfairness in the world. The Occupy Wall Street protesters insist it isn’t fair that one percent of the people own so much of the nation’s wealth. Yet, those one percent of the people have justly earned their wealth. What I consider unjust is their control of so many of the nation’s assets. Some of those wealth-creating assets need to be distributed to the poor who could use the wealth generated by those assets. (See Kelso and Adler, The Capitalist Manifesto, pg.76, 78)

Finally, of course, there is the unfair treatment given to Jesus of Nazareth.

…the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53)

It was so unfair what Jesus went through. Though he faithfully followed Yahweh’s law and gave in to no sin, he was arrested, unjustly tried, mercilessly beaten, mocked and scorned. His friends betrayed him and fled from his captors. The Jews rejected him as their King. The Romans nailed him to a cross. And Yahweh instigated it all.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer. (vs. 10)

All this was done so that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

No, life isn’t fair. And it’s a good thing.

Posted by: John-Paul | August 20, 2013

Wanted: Vigilante Sheepdogs

I have added a new member to my list of vigilante heroes. First were super heroes such as Superman, Batman, DareDevil, and Elektra. Then I liked the Western heroes Lone Ranger and Zorro. More lately it’s been former military men: Tom Clancey’s John Terrance Clark (see Without Remorse) and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher (One Shot).

The new member called herself the Black Stiletto. Born in West Texas and growing up a tomboy, Judy Cooper left home to escape an abusive stepfather and went to New York City. She found work in a boxing gym and took lessons from the owner. She became a student of judo and karate and learned knifefighting from her Mafia boyfriend. Oh, and this was in 1958 when women didn’t work out in gyms and Oriental martial arts were little known.

When twin Mafia soldiers killed her boyfriend under orders of the don, Judy sewed together a black leather disguise and killed the don and one twin, sending the other to prison. By then, fighting crime was in her blood. She took on thugs in the streets and a Cuban buying military secrets and she avenged herself on her abusive stepfather.

By the criterion of Tim Schmidt, founder of United States Concealed Carry Association, Judy Cooper was a sheepdog.

She was the kind of woman this society needs today, not a potential victim to be protected by the men in her life but a woman who could protect herself and those around her. Too many women are beaten and raped by the men in their lives. They need to become sheepdogs.

The government needs to stop trying to pull sheepdogs’ fangs with gun control but rather train them in effective methods of attacking society’s wolves. That is the purpose of the militia.

And to take a Darwinian approach, the government needs to stop penning up wolves and destroy them. Stop the wolves from passing on their murderous genes.

Posted by: John-Paul | July 7, 2013

Spacers, Alcoholism, and Christian Parenting

What do Isaac Asimov’s Spacers, alcoholism, and an immaculate Christian upbringing have in common? Lack of immunity.

In Asimov’s Robot series, Earth’s enemies are the descendents of Earth people who left the planet for the stars. With their scientific know-how, they built homes on other worlds free of Earth’s diseases. The result is that Spacers totally lack immunity to ailments Earth people conquer as children.

In the same way, children raised in relaxed, wine-drinking cultures have a reduced chance of becoming alcoholics than those who grow up with abstinence or binge-drinking. Their families teach them how to handle alcohol in ways that moderate its objectionable effects.

Likewise, children raised in families and schools that thoroughly protect them from exposure to sinful behavior – in themselves as well as in others – tend to run amok when released into sinful society. They don’t see the damage done to themselves and others by immoral behavior. They don’t experience the relief from guilt given by forgiving parents and a forgiving Savior. They don’t learn how to stand against temptations society has to offer.

I don’t advocate Christian parents allowing their children free rein along with undisciplined bastards. Nor do I advocate exposing children to the dangers of pedophiles and kidnappers. However, I do believe that Christian parents and schools who outlaw teens’ exposure to dancing, alcohol use, and public displays of affection do them a disservice. They need the vaccinations.

Posted by: John-Paul | June 22, 2013

A Godless Government and People

A standard has been raised that shows how far the US government has fallen into godless ways. Given that the voters elect most of our leaders, it is plain that we are no longer a “Christian” nation nor a godly people.

On May 2, 2013, The American Vision website published an article by Dr. Joel McDurmon, “The godless state and the road to serfdom (1 Samuel 8:9–22)” In it, he reviews the story of the leaders of ancient Israel demanding of the prophet Samuel that he anoint for them a king. They wished to be like the pagan nations around them.

As Yahweh God explained to Samuel, they were rejecting Him as their suzerainty king. The prophet told the leaders that they were rejecting the individual freedoms they enjoyed under Yahweh’s kingship.

He listed for them specifics of what a king would force their children to endure:

  • conscription into a standing army
  • compulsory service in military/industrial manufacturing
  • compulsory service in his own fields
  • compulsory service in activities meant only for Yahweh
  • disruption of the economy through taxation
  • outright slavery

At least as far back of the 1930s, the US government has fallen into similar godless ways. It has taxed people’s incomes rather more than the tithe (10%) due to God for His spiritual leaders. Young men are required to register for the draft so that “in times of national emergency”, they may be conscripted into the military. Since 1913, the government has placed controls on the money supply through the national banking system and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Beginning with Social Security and accelerating with the War on Poverty, the government has interfered in the lives of the poor and needy and further disrupted the economy…with disastrous results.

What is a godly person to do? Various options are available. One can rebel against the government as the American colonists did. Given our society’s lazy dependence on the government for easy provision and our humanistic mindset, rebellion would lead to a second civil war. At issue would be the tyranny of the federal government vs. individual freedom and local self-government. (See Judges 21:25.)

Another option is to withdraw into isolation as the Amish and survivalists have done. Their results have been  questionable.

There is the option of political action. Organizations such as the Moral Majority, Right to Life, the Tea Party, and Right to Work activists work to influence politicians and citizens toward their national goals. Without enough grassroots support, these will likely prove ineffective.

Certainly, the option moving Dr. Joel McDurmon and his fellows at The American Vision involves evangelism. They see the need for the Church to work at

  • declaring the kingship of Jesus the Messiah
  • prophesying inevitable judgment against this godless society and government
  • proclaiming the benefits of following Yahweh’s Law
  • promising the mercy of forgiveness, and
  • explaining faith in action.

Yahweh Himself has promised blessings on those who follow His Law and curses (as we now see occurring) on those who disobey.


Most people in the US (especially those who wished to occupy Wall Street) would agree that our present economy has a vast disparity in the possession of wealth. One percent of people – they say – own most of the wealth and thus enjoy most of the quality goods of life.

They eat quality foods, live in quality homes in secure environs, receive quality health care, education, and legal protection.

These goods are enjoyed even by “undeserving” family scions, who “live off the labor of others”. The rich are able to indulge in expensive tastes and avoid various punishments.

The poor and needy, of course, live much less well. They are unable to buy many or most of the quality goods listed above. They have lower standards of living and cruder, less secure environs, much less education. Jobs that pay less well – if available at all – give much more incentive to crime with much less legal protection.

Why is there such a vast disparity in the power to earn income?


Wealth is created by applying labor to assets. The owners of assets receive more income than those who apply the labor. (Though Marx and his followers say this is unjust, it is nonetheless true.)

The control of assets brings greater wealth. The concentration of control of assets concentrates the earning of wealth. This leads to the vast disparity of incomes and enjoyment of wealth.

So, how is the enjoyment of wealth to be justly distributed among more people? Is it even just to redistribute wealth more equably? Socialists, of course, say, “Yes! Redistribute income earned so the poor and needy can have more wealth for their needs.”


Their solution to economic disparity is to tax people’s income disproportionately with progressive income tax rates. The higher the income, the higher the percentage of income taxed. The tax monies are then distributed through government bureaucracy to the needy so all may enjoy quality goods.

This started in 1935 with Social Security, which was meant to supplement – not replace – income for the elderly and disabled. Unfortunately, instead of being stockpiled like the grain of seven good years in Egypt, the Social Security monies were put to other uses (theft by Congress). And it’s impossible to reform the system. Benefits to the elderly and disabled are a political third rail – an untouchable sacred cow.

In the 1960s, President Johnson declared a War on Poverty. What resulted was a war on the impoverished. Minimum wages became a bar to employment of the most needy. Public welfare became opportunities for sloth. Entitlement programs led to attitudes of being entitled. This has resulted in worse poverty, a greater disparity between the haves and the have-nots.


I offer a solution put forth in 1958 by Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler. They showed that wealth is created by those who own assets – not just those who labor. This is how the rich obtain their riches.

Thus, rather than robbing – I mean, taxing – people of the income they have justly earned, even by capital gains, distribute some of the wealth-producing assets to the most needy. Then, whether they work or not, these people would earn incomes from those investments.

Certainly, it would be as undeserved as by non-working scions. Certainly, they would need qualified, private managers to handle these assets. So do many wealthy families at present.

Just as with Social Security, grant assets to the elderly and disabled, people either past working for income or unable to do so. Continue with the most needy. Finally, provide assets to people of higher and higher income levels, thus raising everyone’s standard of living.

Of course, such a radical notion of redistributing assets would not gain much popularity. Meanwhile God Almighty has given His people another solution, the distribution of charity.


Yahweh God has called His people – not the state – to care for the poor and needy. He has given specific instructions how to help them justly without the coercion of taxes. In fact, there is no coercion in this. No punishment was specified for non-compliance with these laws. Blessing was simply withheld from those who refused this voluntary duty.

First, portions of people’s tithes (10% of their increase in wealth) were to be kept in storehouses for the purpose of helping the poor.

Second, farmers were instructed to leave the corners of their fields unharvested and to leave any stalks that fell on the ground. This gave opportunities for the able-bodied poor to glean the stalks for themselves. The grain wasn’t fully harvested and some given to the poor without their effort. (Ruth, an ancestor of King David and the star of her own book of the Bible, was commended for her hard work in gleaning during the harvest.)

Finally, Jubilee laws required the returning of assets to poor families who had been forced to sell them. Those sold into bondage for debts to rich landowners were to be released after seven years. In all this, freedom was maintained or restored after a prescribed amount of time.


Socialism is contrary Yahweh’s specific instructions and amounts to government-sponsored theft. It gives disincentives to work, is rife with bureaucratic inefficiency and power politics, and requires government interference in and harm to the economy. It results only in the loss of freedom and greater poverty.

The capitalist way requires that assets be taken from those who own them and given to people who are undeserving and not inheriting. It breaks up family legacies. The assets are given to people uneducated and untrained in using them – to people unable to appreciate and hold on to them.

Charity from the faithful would be – at present – inadequate to meet needs. It would require people to change their thought processes and heart loyalties.


Socialism seeks to help the poor and needy, which is encouraged by Bible. It grants them some of rich people’s wealth. However, this is not done Yahweh’s way and is intrinsically evil.

Capitalism is also encouraged by the Bible (See Proverbs). It grants just earnings to those who own assets and use them. It simply requires more equal distribution of the earning power of assets.

Charity from God’s faithful is specifically required by Yahweh’s Law. Gleaning upholds the recipients’ self-worth. Done according to the Law, it would bring blessings to the givers as well as the recipients.


In economics as in so many other areas of our society, we Americans must return to the freedom of Yahweh’s Law. I mean this not for individual salvation; that is through faith. However, Yahweh’s blessings will return to our nation if we put faith in Him and obey the stipulations of His Law.

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