Monthly Archives: July 2016

Our Experiences Are Used by God to Shape Us

I am a retired English and Spanish teacher and have moonlighted as an adjunct college instructor for years. Three years ago I get a call from one of my favorite ex-students from the high school days. She’s a counselor at the same school. “Hey, Mr. Hancock. Would you consider coming back to teach Spanish. We are two weeks into the semester, and we can’t find a teacher.”

“Well, if it was anyone else but you, Kristy, I would say no.”

“Then you will?”

“Yes.” And thus began my second foray into the sometimes numbing void of inexperience of high school adolescents.  15-17-year-olds exude such an obnoxious stench of self-importance at times. It is based entirely on their over-inflated opinionated egos. I love them and, of course, try to direct them into the knowledge that the world does not revolve around them and their phones and that the real world is comprised of actual experiences.

Getting their attention is difficult. It is only when I bare my soul and tell them a MASH Hospital Vietnam story, how frantic it was when we went to the chinook helicopter to get the three survivors on litters and how I looked into the rear of the chopper and saw bodies thrown in like a pile of cord wood with lifeless limbs askew reaching out to me for help.

Or I might keep it a little lighter like when we were seated around a little table–no less–on the floor of Winterland in San Francisco–experiencing this new act called the Jimi Hendrix Experience in October 1968 right after I got back home from Nam, and how it only cost $3. 50 (That’s a 20 dollar bill in today’s money–Boy, are you guys getting robbed!).

Or I might share how after my “joyous cosmology” days in the Bay Area, we did a much needed volte-face and joined a Christian community, traveled to Mexico, and learned what the true treasure of the Sierra Madre was, or when I tell of the man there on the side of an obscure mountain who desperately wanted to trade a bird in a cardboard cracker box for food, and how he cried, “Pan, pan” with those tear-less sunken eyes and how we opened the back of our van and gave them the large sacks of corn and beans that in the end were meant for them.

It is only then that my students’ prematurely hardened hearts melt a bit until the bell rings, and they, like robots, go to their phones to see if anyone is thinking about them.
Experiences are important. Writing about them is their crown and reason to be. For in the end, our experiences are the tools that the Sculptor used to shape us into His sons and daughters. And He has given us the words to relate these experiences. For the written word is very powerful, “mightier than the sword.” And in the word’s humble clothing, a lifetime lives on and on. So write if you don’t, and keep writing if you do. And thanks for reading my words.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[The full Mexico stories are here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/true-treasures-of-the-sierra-madre/ https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/famine-integrity-and-the-cardboard-cage/ 

A Vietnam story is here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/remembering-a-tragedy-at-the-vietnam-veterans-memorial-wall/ ]

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What Do We Do Now to Grow Spiritually? Part Two–Additions to the Faith and the Armor of God

We cannot do things to achieve salvation from God, but we must do certain things in order to grow His Spirit within us after we receive a new heart, after we are “born from above.”

Because our Creator has a purpose of reproducing Himself (Love) in us, He, of course, has a definite plan to fulfill His purpose. He has thought it all through and lined it all out in His written word. And in His scriptures of truth is contained the thoughts of the Son of God, the “Word made flesh.” And these thoughts contain admonishments, and when done by us Christians, we will grow up to be like Him, which fulfills His purpose.

In Part One we explored the apostles’ doctrine as the first thing we need to be learning and doing. We also saw that we are to “purge out the old leaven,” which are the false concepts and teachings about God that we learned coming up.

The Additions to the True Faith

The apostle Peter admonishes us to add to our faith certain spiritual qualities of the King. In order that we may “partake of the divine nature,” we are to add virtue to our faith, and “to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness charity (agape love).” He goes on to say that we will be blind without them. But with them we will “make [our] calling and election sure, and that will ensure our entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1: 3-11).

These additions are not little romper room words to be pasted on a bulletin board. Rather they are facets of a jewel of great price, and that jewel is His very character. These additions are aspects of God’s divine nature. A shallow perusal will not do. They must be studied and prayed over and sought with a whole heart in reverential awe.

Peter sums it up by saying, You better take heed to what I am saying to you. I have a “more sure word of prophecy.” I know what  I am talking about because I was there with our Savior on the Mount of Transfiguration, and I beheld His glory. I am speaking to you now as “a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts” (1: 16-19).

God has miraculously preserved Peter’s words to us for all these 2,000 years. The Spirit still speaks through him to us. We need to study this out thoroughly, or we are going to miss something very big in God’s plan.

[For more on the additions to the faith go here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/category/additions-to-our-faith/ ]

The Whole Armor of God

The fourth thing we are admonished to do is put on the armor of God (Eph. 6: 11-18). Since “God is a Spirit,” Paul is talking about spiritual things. He uses earthly military metaphors that a combat soldier of his time might wear to elucidate the spiritual. For we are in a spiritual war “against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It is spiritual wickedness that we battle, not literal things.

The battlefield is in our minds. So it is the replacing of erroneous thoughts with thoughts about godly truth that will shield our minds from succumbing to the adversary, the devil. We are told to “arm yourselves with the same mind” as Christ (I Pet. 4: 1).

So the whole armor of God is thinking the thoughts that Christ and His apostles thought. Peter also tells us to “girt up the loins of your mind” (I Pet. 1: 13). The first piece of armor is to have “your loins girt abut with truth.” Think on the truth; get rid of the false concepts that we know to be in error.

Then we are to put on the “breastplate of righteousness.” We need to study out the word “righteousness” to take to heart its real scriptural meaning. It has to do with the purging of sin out of our lives.

The we are to have our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” The gospel of the good news of God’s kingdom coming to this earth along with the King’s return (Mark 1: 14-15). We should study it out and think God’s thoughts about it. We should be prepared to share these thoughts about the “gospel of the kingdom of God.” For His kingdom is the good news.

We are to take the “shield of faith.” Knowing and believing in His faith, which has been “once delivered to the saints,” will protects us from attacks of the wicked one. And then we must take the “helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God.”

All these are portions of the armor of God. But it would not be the whole armor without “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”

Prayer is the last but not the least of the armor. For it is the most difficult to exercise, it would seem. For we all must be taught to pray, as the disciples asked the Savior to teach them to pray.

It was then that He gave them a prayer to model their prayers after. It is called The Lord’s Prayer. And it has been used and abused so often that the deep meaning has been lost. We are not to mouth vain repetitions of this very prayer, but rather pray according to its precepts. It is not a poll parrot incantation to mindlessly repeat; it is a blue print of how to literally touch God in heaven.

But the old leaven about this prayer is so thick that few can get through it to the truth the Savior was trying to teach us.

[For more on what the Lord’s Prayer means go here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/06/07/the-lords-prayer-is-not-an-incantation-chant-or-ritual/                                        https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/06/12/the-lords-prayer-blueprint-for-building-gods-temple-us/ ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under additions to our faith, armour of God, eternal purpose, faith, false doctrines, gospel, kingdom of God, mind of Christ, old leaven, righteousness, spiritual growth, The Lord's Prayer

What Do We Do Now to Grow Spiritually? Part One

Okay. We understand now that God is Love and that His purpose is to reproduce Himself in us. We were created as a house for God to dwell in, for Love to dwell in.

And we understand now that God has a plan to carry out this purpose of reproducing Himself. We see that this plan entails His kingdom, first established in our hearts, and then it is to be set up as a literal worldwide government headed by our King, the Son of God upon His return to earth.

And we see that an integral part of God’s plan is the law of harvest. God is the Seed, the Word of God. And this Seed/Word “was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Christ is that Seed that germinates in our hearts and starts to grow as a grain of corn is planted, dies, and resurrects and grows in our gardens. We, too, begin to grow spiritually.

But then something bad happens to young Christians. The weeds spring up and begin to choke the word/seed. Babes in Christ are fed tainted milk, which are false concepts about God. Materialism with its many temptations subvert God’s plan from coming to fruition. Tough decisions arise for the babe in Christ for which Christ says to “count the cost.” The way grows narrow and difficult to navigate, where one finds few fellow travellers. And then the world extends a very wide and welcoming road where many go and seem to have wonderful fellowship, and the pilgrim is tempted to take that avenue.

What We Are to Do

But if God is calling us to the “higher calling” of being used for Him to reproduce Himself through, then we must ask ourselves, What do we do now to grow spiritually? Not what man’s traditions say to do, but what do the scriptures say for us to do. Tradition tells us, Go to church and give your tithes and offerings, confess your sins, do the best you can, and you will go to heaven when you die. But, is that all there is? Will God really be pleased with that? Is that all there is to it?

Surely not. For I do not see much growth in the lives in Christian circles. People do get cleaned up and start living a better life, but many backslide into their past actions. Many just remain regular attendees of their church services, content to be a part of a Christian social fabric. Is that what the prophets and apostles of old prescribed for our growth? Is that what the church in the book of Acts did?

First Thing to Do

No. We are given at least seven general “things to do” as Christians to effect proper spiritual growth. First, the early church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2: 42). The apostles had a doctrine, and it was the same that Christ had. “Doctrine” means “teachings,” and they were delivering those teachings to the new converts. Some preachers asininely say, “We do not want doctrine; we just want Jesus.” They must not know that “whosoever transgresses and abides not in the doctrine of Christ has not God” (II John 1: 9).

What were the apostles’ teachings? They are concisely found in Hebrews 6: 1-2. They are the foundation that when done, will help us grow unto “perfection,” or complete spiritual maturity. They are repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal judgement, and perfection. How many Christians would be able to list these vital concepts that the apostles taught? Not many even know about them. Whose fault is that? God says it is their pastor’s fault. God pronouces a woe unto the shepherds for not feeding the flock of God with proper teachings (Ezk 34: 1-10).

[For more on the apostles’ doctrine go here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/category/apostles-doctrine/ ; https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/life-comes-out-of-death-of-old-nature/ ; https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/faith-how-to-walk-in-the-newness-of-life/  These are just a few of the articles on this site that addresses the apostles’ doctrine]

Second Thing to Do to Grow

We are admonished to purge out the “old leaven.” Old leaven is the false concepts about God, the traditions of men, the imaginations of false teachers and preachers. We all come to Christ with them, and they must be gotten rid of.

[For more go here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/purging-out-the-old-leaven-to-become-the-sons-and-daughters-of-god/https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/warning-beware-of-mans-traditions-about-christ/ ; https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/purge-out-the-old-leaven-in-order-to-become-the-sons-of-god/ ].   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under apostles' doctrine, children of God, false doctrines, false teachers, old leaven, perfection, repentance, spiritual growth

God Is Love and Is the Light of the World

“You can fight against hatred and sadness and chaos, but you cannot fight love, joy, and peace. If you do, you will lose. For light vanquishes darkness, even as the morning conquers the night.” [Jan. 7, 2016, spoken to some  of my negative thinking students.]

Christ said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8: 12). How is He the light of the world? The apostle Paul said that light makes things known (Eph. 5: 13). We enter a dark room; we switch on the light. Now we know what is around us, what is coming at us. With the light we can see what the future holds for us.

Darkness is the opposite and is the absence of light. And people are sitting in darkness at present, just like they did as Christ was beginning His ministry in Galilee (Matt. 4: 16; Isa. 8: 22). And then they saw a great Light, just like the masses in our age will see at His second coming. Yet, a remnant will see that Light before His return, and they will respond to God’s plan and purpose to reproduce Himself through Christ in them.

Spiritual darkness has descended upon the people, and they know that they are in darkness. They realize their sinful state because they do not want their deeds brought to light. They know innately that what they do is not done in agape love but in selfishness. For this reason those eaten up with darkness hate the light because the light exposes their evil actions. Their death warrant is already signed; their rejection of Light’s pardon seals it (John 3: 19-21). But some will come to the light.

How, then, is Christ the Light of the world? His life illuminates God’s purpose. He is the plan to carry out that purpose. For the Father has poured it all out, written it all down, and has enacted His whole plan to reproduce Love, which is God Himself–it is all in the Son of God. Knowing Christ is knowing the Father’s plan, for “He has declared” the Father (John 1: 18). Christ has “unfolded in a teaching” God’s plan; He has laid it all out for us to see. For He is the Logos, the Word made flesh.

God is love. His purpose is to reproduce Himself (Love) in the earth. This love is His life. And His life of love is the light that illumines our path here on earth. It is the ray of light that overcomes the darkness of hatred and despair. And this Love/Light/Life is poured into Love’s Son, the Logos/Word that declares all this, which is the Father’s heart and mind.

How Love Is the Light

We know that God is love and God is light. Therefore, Love is Light. Since Light makes things known, then Love makes manifest as well. Love sheds light on what and who God is. Where love is present, the Spirit of Love makes God known. We see God when we see love–true selfless love from above, as we see in Christ’s laying down His life for His friends. Thus, Christ saying, “I am the light of the world.”

John’s Letter to Fully Matured Christians

John wrote to Christians of all spiritual growths about these matters. “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning” (I John 2: 12-14).  It is as if John is speaking to us now: “You fathers have settled the sin question that plagues little children of God; sin is eradicated out of your lives. And you as ‘young men’ have conquered the devil and his temptations. And now you are fully matured spiritually and have known God that is from the beginning. As one of God’s friends, you not only know, but have  His mind and heart that existed from the very beginning. You know His purpose of reproducing Himself. You know His plan to implement that purpose–a plan to create a kingdom, a government with His Son as the King, who will rule and reign for 1,000 years here on earth. You know that some of us humans will rule with Him, as His Spirit will inhabit them fully, thus fulfilling His purpose.

“You fathers have known Him from the beginning, how the Father shaped His purpose and plan into thoughts expressed in words, which comprises the Logos, the Word of God. And you know now how the Father poured the Word into His Son, ‘made of a woman, made under the law.’ And you know that the Son was the Seed of Love, giving up His life a ransom for many. And you know that the harvest of that Seed in our hearts is the ultimate realization  of the fulfillment of God’s Purpose of reproducing Himself. This harvest is called ‘the manifestation of the sons of God,’ or the unveiling of the sons of God. Fathers, you now, like Paul and Peter and John among others 2,000 years ago, are privy to the mind of God and His Son, thoughts so precious and ancient, that little finite minds fizzle into the ether of the spiritual world, that heavenly paradise that was in the beginning before the earth ever existed.”

Now We Know

It has all been written down in the scriptures of truth. It is there for the spiritually hungry, for the thirsty, for the famished. For only a few will find this way of truth (Matt. 7: 14). Christ is the way, the path to God’s heart. Only those desperate enough to want to change their current life will find this path in the wilderness of sin. Only those who are willing to go through Christ’s sufferings will be exalted in that day.

Christ’s life illuminates man’s path to comprehending just who God is and what He is accomplishing in the earth. We can only see God and His purpose and plan when we see the love shown in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, which is the greatest love. When we believe in His resurrection–in us–then we enter into this hidden realm of which we speak.

Christ is the Light that makes known the Father’s purpose. And we all should take heed to the “more sure word of prophecy…as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in [our] hearts” (II Pet. 1: 19). And that “day star” is the Spirit of truth that is the Word which is a “light unto our path” (Psm 119: 105).

And this light will speak “to the law and to the testimony” (Isa. 8: 20).

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under children of God, church, elect, eternal purpose, kingdom of God, light, love, Love from Above, manifestation of the sons of God, mind of Christ, sin, sons and daughters of God, sons of God, Spirit of God, spiritual growth, Spiritual Life Cycle