Monthly Archives: February 2010

CHRIST: You Must “Hate” Your Family to Be My Disciple–Counting the Cost of Discipleship

I know.  “Hate” is a very strong word.  Surely, Christ did not mean for us to hate our family members, as in loathing them.

Here is exactly what He said: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14: 26).

These are powerful words and very perplexing.  Surely He did not mean hate hate.  Pondering this, I looked up the word in the Greek.  Miseo is used with several shades of meaning.  Consulting Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, I found that it is indeed used for “malicious feelings toward others.”  But it is also used to speak “of relative preference for one thing over another, by way of expressing either aversion from, or disregard for, the claims of one person…to those of another.” 

The Key to Understanding What He Meant

 The key to understanding this kind of “hate” for earthly family members that Christ speaks about resides in understanding “aversion from” and “disregard for.”

Christ is saying that when we answer the call to become a son or daughter of God, earthly family members will stand in the way of us walking on with God.  Consciously or unconsciously, they will obstruct us.  Christ called them blind and the walking dead.  Even though some may mean well, Christ sees them as enemies endeavoring to thwart His plan for our new lives in Him.  They have their plans for us–how we should act towards them, and it is always about them.  And God has His plan for how we occupy our minds with His thoughts.  Therefore, we must choose God’s thoughts for us and “disregard” their little self-centered world, around which they want us to spin.  We must avert or turn away our minds and hearts from dwelling on them.

Simply put, in comparison to the high calling, they are a hindrance and must be put on the back burner when we are forced to choose between Christ and them.  We must set Christ and His plan as the top priority and not antagonistic family members.  In a word, we must separate ourselves from them.

The Rest of Christ’s Lesson

Christ continues His teaching on all this in the verses that follow, illustrating the actual cost, the actual price we must pay for discipleship.  For He immediately asks, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?”  For you may come up short and not be able to finish the project.

By that He wants us to ask ourselves, “What might it cost to seriously follow Christ into Sonship?”  It just may cost us a row, a major blow up with a family member.  It might cost a wife [I have actually seen this happen more than once, and thank God that mine stayed with me].  It may cost you a relationship with a son or daughter [I know about the son].

Following Christ the way He wants us to follow Him may cost us someone dear to us.  “For how can two walk together, except they be agreed?  And “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  Wherefore, come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (II Cor 6: 14-17). 

The Conclusion of Christ’s Lesson for Us

Finishing up His lesson on counting the cost of serving Him, He says, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14: 33). 

The “all that he has” here is the earthly life mentioned seven verses before at the beginning of the lesson–his earthly father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters. 

Christ is teaching us that we should disregard and turn away from, and thereby forsake earthly family members if they continue to be used by Satan to prevent us from fulfilling our calling.  We still love them and pray for them that they might repent and turn toward God.  But we should hear Christ’s words and not theirs.  He did warn us about all this.  He said, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter agains her mother…and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Mt. 10: 34-36). 

Finally, we must ask ourselves this:  Are we going to flail around in the deep dark lake of fear and dread, trying to save someone whose thrashing about just might drown us in the process?  Or are we going to obey and trust our Master by standing on the banks with Him as a beacon of light and thereby be able to help those who want to come to the light and walk with Him?

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Yahweh’s Last Day Jewels–His Special Treasure

In these last days, God has a special treasure hidden in the earth.  It is not composed of diamonds, rubies, silver, or gold.  His special treasure are His jewels, but they are a special group of people who He is most keenly aware of in their walk on this earth.  Yahweh takes special notice of them.  And so, we must ask, Just who are these people?  What characteristics distinguish them from other human beings?

First, they fear Him.  They are in awe of Him, His power, and His plan.  They know who He really is and what He has done.  They are stupefied when they consider the astonishing array of His heavens and His earth.

Secondly, they will speak often to each other.  They will eventually find each other, and when they do, they will “click.”  They will have His Spirit in common and a mutual purpose in their walk on earth–one that will match God’s eternal purpose of sonship.

And then God will hearken to their speech, and He will remember them.  To be one that He remembers!  What an honor!  When they are in awe of Him, He not only takes notice, but He has His angels make a “book of remembrance.”  He has His angels write down our names in a book of remembrance!  And He does this for those that speak often about Him, fear Him, and think upon His name

What were they speaking one to another about?  We know that whatever we think about, we speak about.  These special chosen people of God were speaking to each other about His nameThen they that feared the LORD (Yahweh) spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name (Malachi 3: 16).  Thy thought and spoke about His name Yahweh.

Through Isaiah God spoke, “I am the LORD: that is my name” (42: 8).  And we know that “the LORD” is the title that the translators used in place of the Hebrew name “YHWH,” pronounced “Yahweh.”  So, rewritten, the Spirit says through Isaiah, “I am Yahweh: that is my name.” 

All this moves God.  How can we, little old us, ever touch God’s heart that He would ever take notice of us?  By being in awe of Him, thinking upon His name, and speaking about Him using His name.  We need to think on His name–ponder it, peruse it, explore it, meditate on it, and understand the message contained in His name Yahshua: Yahweh is the Savior.

And what is the outcome for those who do this?  God will remember them, saying, “They shall be mine…in that day when I make up my jewels [Hebrew–special treasure]; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him” (v. 17).  Spare them from what?  He will spare them from the time of punishment  that is coming upon this earth.

For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up…But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.  (Mal 4: 1-2).  His name is important.       Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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True Treasures of the Sierra Madre

A case of nerves was seizing my two daughters, Sara, 23, and Hannah, 21.  A study trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico, was only three days away, and anxiety was setting in.  This would be Sara’s first time as the family’s designated interpreter, a role that I had filled many times in the past.  But my wife, Linda, and I were not going this time.  And, as for Hannah, she had not taken Spanish since high school.

And although close, my daughters were not enjoying the “now”–the pre-trip responsibilities of tying up loose ends before departure.

I interrupted their squabble saying, “Hey, speaking of Mexico.  Let me share something that happened when your mom and I were missionaries down there in 1977, when you were four and two.”

I went on to relate the time when their older brother, Danny, a bright-eyed eight-year-old back then, and a fellow missionary, John Boyer, and I hatched this little treasure hunting scheme in order to raise up some finances.

In those days in Mexico, even if you could find a job with the going wage of $2.00 a day, it was against the law to work without a work visa.  Both John and I had big families, and although our Christian brothers were doing all they could to support us, the money was always low.

We had met an American passing through, and he had told us that not many miles from us in the state of Nuevo Leon, a mile high in the Sierra Madre, there used to be an old factory, circa 1850.  A sealing wax used to waterproof sailing ships was produced for worldwide consumption from the candalaria cactus plant native to the region.  Find that old ghost town and its factory and its dump site, and with a little digging, you could strike it rich on just the antique bottles alone, he had told us.

Since $20 felt like it would have put us in that higher economic bracket, we set out to find the riches of the old factory.

We asked around and found out that it was supposed to be located just four or five miles directly to the west of our little valley cradled by dry rugged mountains, seven miles out of Galeana.  We went down our road one mile and then west on a dirt road a half mile and came to the rancho of Antonio Garcia.

The small adobe house with its rough-hewn wooden door and the outbuildings began to immediately throw me into a time warp.  A sun-bleached hitching post stood starkly in front, shiny from use.  A wagon in good repair waited for its horse to return and give it motion.  And as chickens and pigs and goats wandered around on the barren ground, I kept slipping back into time.  I was thinking, So this is how they lived in 1800.

Antonio Garcia wiped his leather hands on his pants and smiled big and rushed over to us with his hand extended.  It was as if he had been waiting for us all day, and we had finally arrived.  We shook hands and introduced ourselves.  In Spanish he said, “Para servirles, señores.  At your service, sirs.  How may I help you?”

I told him what we were looking for.  He shook his hear “yes” and said, “I will take you down the river that runs through the canyon.”

“Well, we don’t mean to take you away from your work.  It’s still early afternoon, and I know your have things to do.”

“The work will be here mañana.”  And with that he hustled over to the corral made from the twelve feet long dried poles that the maguey cactus shoots forth during its flowering swan song.

I walked over to his shed and looked in.  Saddles, tools, and primitive implements lined the walls.  I looked more closely, and to my amazement, everything was hand-made.  Tools hammered out on a blacksmith’s anvil lay beside saddles whose leather lay on a frame carved from blonde Mexican pine.  A 24″ long dish like trough was hand-hewn from a single log.  It was like walking into a dusty living museum whose artifacts were still being used by the inhabitants.  Only the exhibits here were at once old, yet newly made. 

Antonio came into the shed, fetched the saddles, and began to saddle up one burro, one mule and one horse.  He hurried us upon the animals, grabbed the reins of the burro, and just like that, we were off, heading west.

He took us into a shallow river.  Our mounts drank for the longest time.  In a few minutes we had arrived in a box canyon, the sides of which reared straight up 50 feet.  A timeless feeling spread over me as I took in the Technicolor layers of stone in those cliffs.  Unfenced cattle, curious about the intruders in their midst, peered down over the edge at us below.  Two hawks cut through the heavenly blue crystal above us in a whispered flutter.

We rode on for hours drinking in God’s creation.  We eventually left the river and its canyon and arrived on a high chaparral.  By this time the sun was setting over the majestic Mt. Potosi, the 10,000 feet monarch of the northern Sierra Madre Oriental.  I looked at the 6′ 4″ John Boyer who was having trouble on the mule.  He let out a shout as the girth gave way, and he swung down like a human pendulum, down to the ground, the saddle still between his legs.

Of course, we all laughed.  And then, as I looked at Danny and John and Antonio, I realized that not once had anyone mentioned the factory or its “treasures.”  We had all found a treasure.  Who ever gets to time-travel into a bygone era of history?  We had also found out that hospitality was not dead; it was alive and well in Antonio Garcia.

“And girls,” I said, finishing up my story, “do you know what was the greatest treasure we found that day?”

“What?” they asked in unison.

“It was the realization that life is lived in the journey.  Enjoy the “getting there” as much as the destination.  It might be all you find and all you need to find.”     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Ezekiel 38 Happens AFTER the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ

Many voices are trumpeting the soon-coming invasion of the Holy Land by Gog and Magog and Co.  Even Prime Minister Netanyahu recently said that the invasion was coming soon.   They cite Ezekiel 38 as proof that this war will be started by Russia and Iran in the very near future.

These claims are unfounded and untrue.  Footnotes in most Bibles for Ezk. 38: 2 sends us to Revelation 20: 8, where we see that same Gog and Magog leading other satanically deceived nations.  But when does this happen?  Verse 7 is the first half of the sentence, and it says, “And when the thousand years are expired [the 1,000 year reign of Christ], Satan shall be loosed out of prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations…Gog and Magog, to gather them to battle…and they went up…and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city,” Jerusalem (v. 7-9).

This is after the 1,000 year reign of Christ upon the earth.  Gog and Magog, Russia and Iran and Co., will be used by God that way at that time.  Not in our day, not in our present time.

Here is more proof that the invasion of Jerusalem by Gog and Magog comes not at this time in history.  The Promised Land at the time of the invasion of Gog and Magog will be at total peace (read 1,000 year reign of peace).  The invaders shall find the population living in a “land of unwalled villages.”  They are “at rest” and “dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Ezk 38: 11).

That is the cultural environment that Gog and Magog will find.  The Israeli state today is preparing for war, both its citizens and the army.  They are not dwelling safely and have many bars and gates on their houses and neighborhoods.  No rest and peace are found in the Israeli state.  Rocket attacks have become  a daily occurance.  Fear and uncertainty are a constant, present reality.

This is why I say that the Gog and Magog attack of Ezekiel 38 will be much later in history.

One more reason.  The inhabitants of the Holy Land, who are living in complete peace and rest, will come from all the twelve tribes of Israel.  Right now primarily Jews live in the Israeli state.  True Jews come out of the Kingdom of Judah, whose subjects were descended from only two tribes–Judah and Benjamin.  The other Ten Tribes of Israel  were “lost” to most after the Kingdom of Israel (Ten Tribes) was carried into captivity around 721 B.C.  Members from all twelve tribes will be present at the time of the invasion of the Promised Land.

Furthermore, after the 6th Seal is opened, 12,000 of each of the twelve tribes are sealed (Rev. 7: 3-8; 14: 1-7).  In other words, the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel will be found and will populate Jerusalem during the 1,000 year reign.  Christ said that He was sent to them.  The apostle James wrote to them; “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, greeting” (James 1: 1).  Paul said that  “our twelve tribes” were “instantly serving God day and night” waiting upon the promises of God (Acts 26: 7).

If there is an invasion by Russia and Iran, it will not be that which is spoken of in Ezekiel 38.

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