Monthly Archives: November 2019

Suffering as a Christian—Why Is It Part of God’s Plan for Us?

Why the betrayals? Why must we go through outrageously painful heartbreak? Why do marriages explode and relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ turn from the sweet fellowship of our youth in Christ to painful arrows of accusations, recriminations, and acrimony? Why does God allow us to suffer so?

Yet, we have all read, “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” And we all derived great joy thinking on that glorious day when we, the sons and daughters of God, would be a part of Christ’s cadre. We liked the “glory” part, but shuddered and ran away from the “suffering” part of the walk with Christ.

And when that ghostly knife came so swiftly at the hands of the ones that we loved the most, when it stabbed deep into our hearts, we knew that the suffering in Christ does not come from the outside evil forces, but from the words and actions of a “friend.” And we knew that it would never be the same as we barely crossed over that burning bridge.

Many years have passed now, yet that old question stirs up in us, an itch that must be scratched, a reason must be mined out of the mountain of the past. Why must we suffer as a Christian?

The Need for God and the Suffering for Salvation

When all things are going great, we really have no need for God. It is only when things fall apart, initially through our own sins and shortcomings, that we need Him. When we finally come to the end of the road of sin, we realize that we need Him to save us.

“When God first desires to reveal himself to the unregenerate, he begins by allowing them to reap the consequences of their own actions. They wake up one day and find themselves face down in the gutter. The unregenerate are consumed with carnal, self-destructive desires. The consequences of their behavior are suffering, personal castigation, family censure, community shame, poverty, grief, loneliness, and possibly prison.

“While this suffering can be intense, it is not too bewildering, because the cause of the affliction is immediately apparent. Scales come off their eyes and they are allowed to see that their problems were generated from within themselves. They are suffering because they have done evil. Like the two thieves hanged with Jesus, those who suffer into Salvation recognize that their suffering was caused by their own sins…

“This first suffering establishes man’s initial relationship with God. It is called, “Salvation.” In the Salvation experience men receive the revelation of Jesus Christ and learn that their sins are unconditionally forgiven. They also discover that good excels evil as the heavens are higher than the earth. Through pain men learn that evil activities are unproductive. Their suffering is thus corrective and will teach them that God’s ways are best. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

“After the Salvation experience, men will turn away from evil and seek after good. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. With this new revelation animating their lives, everything in their world is then categorized into either “evil” or “good.” Salvation is thus distinguished by tireless campaigns against evil, and continuous efforts for the acquisition of earthly wealth.

“In the Bible, Salvation is characterized as “hearing.” Those who have suffered into Salvation have had their ears opened to the word of God. He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

“This is the revelation that Moses received, along with the Ten Commandments. While Moses could “hear” the word of God, he was not allowed to see God’s face…Those who have attained Salvation only, can hear the word of God, but they do not yet see him as he is. They operate by hearing, and not by sight. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

“Those who have found Salvation normally feel that they have obtained all there is from God, but this is not so. Salvation is only the first step in the unveiling of God. After suffering into the “hearing” of Salvation, you must then press on and complete an additional ordeal–suffering into the “seeing” of Sonship. He that hath an ear, let him hear.

Suffering for Sonship

“When you find Salvation, the “evil” in your life is struck down, or at least revealed for the malignancy that it is. But after the Salvation experience, God still leaves you deluded and dazzled by all the “good” things of earth. This earthly “good” still originates from the Tree of Good & Evil, and this is still the realm of spiritual death. Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

“In his own time, God selects some for the second step in his revelation process. Adding to their loathing of “evil,” he will bring them also to a dissatisfaction with earthly “good.” As before, this second step will be instigated by suffering. But this time you will not suffer for any evil found in you. Rather, you will suffer for undeserved evil that comes against you. Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

“There is no permanent glory in suffering for your sins. God expects every Christian to put away evil and to do the right thing. Continued suffering for your sins is unacceptable to God. His lasting, permanent, and eternal blessings will be procured only by those who suffer with clean hands and a pure heart. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

“There is a “righteous suffering” that occurs when God brings evil against “good” people. Those who have attained Salvation and are doing the right thing are candidates for this suffering. Some of them will be selected by the divine wisdom of God to endure grievous affliction. An upright life that is lived for God will qualify some mortals to suffer bewildering trials, and by them, to be ushered into a new relationship with God. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

“Even your “good” desires, worship, and works, are yet carnal. Your concepts of God arise in part from the carnality that is still within you. These present ideas are minuscule, inconsequential, and incomplete, when compared with the true goal that God has in mind. God will therefore dismantle them all, before he allows you to eat from the Tree of Life.

“This operation begins as an intense situation of unwarranted and confusing evil against you. You will be subjected to agony, through no fault of your own. Your “good” will be evil spoken of. Your upright works will be slandered, your character profaned. Your body will turn against you. You will be rejected of men and cursed by those you love.

“As you traverse this experience you will find it an intense and enduring battle, where Life engages Death. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. You will begin to seek God with an intensity not found amongst mortals. When your heart is broken by God himself, you will draw close unto him. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

“With the one, huge, staggering question of “Why?” you will seek out God in search of an answer. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous. This is where Overcomers are born, and those who are successful will be ushered in to the presence of God. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

“After you have been through this second step, this “Sonship” process, you will have suffered the destruction of both “evil” and “good.” Your human pride will have been profaned. Your earthly desires will have been reduced to nothing. Your carnality will have been systematically destroyed.

“Then you will find a new revelation of God. You will learn of his absolute sovereignty. You will learn to see him in darkness and affliction. But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.

“With this new revelation you will begin to eat from a different tree. No longer will you divide your world into “good” and “evil.” Instead, all things will begin to appear only as a sequence of events that emanate from the throne of God to accomplish his purpose. With this new understanding you will leave the Tree of Good & Evil entirely, and begin to eat for the first time, from the Tree of Life. He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

“This new relationship to God is called “Sonship.” Sonship does not merely teach you about God. Rather, it makes you like him. Through this process, agape-love will be born within you and forgiveness will flow from you. The Sons of God are not created beings. They are the spirits of men, begotten from the spirit of God.

“Sonship is based on “seeing,” for the Sons of God will not operate by faith, but by sight. As you come through a suffering that seems futile and senseless, you will begin to see into the spirit realm. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. You will begin to look beyond earthly circumstance and see that every event that has touched your life has occurred at the direction of God. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

“When your eyes are opened to see God in every earthly event, then he can no longer hide from you. When he can no longer hide from you, you will have become what he is. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.

“Suffering is the process that produces the perfection of Sonship. This path leads from evil, to good, and eventually unto life. When you suffer for sin “in you,” God destroys your addiction to “evil.” When you suffer for sin “against you,” God slays your addiction to “good.” By these your carnal mind is eradicated and the Tree of Good & Evil vacated. Only then can you eat from the Tree of Life. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.’’

[The preceding passage is from Chapter 13, “Suffering,” from Garrison Russell’s book SonPlacing. It has helped me so much to understand what  happened those many years ago during our youthful days at the mission. The book is online, found here: http://www.sonplace.com/sonplacing/sp_chp13.htm    I plan to share more of it soon.]

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Giving Spiritual Food That Is Needful

We surrender our lives to God, and He give us an “earnest,” a portion of His Spirit. And His Spirit of truth begins to reveal more and more truth to us, creating in our spirit a stockpile of truth—spiritual food, as it were, to feed others. In fact, at times our storehouses overflow, and we want to give it all away to any and all who will listen. Many times we give every bit of truth we have accumulated to whomever is in earshot.

I am speaking of my experience in God several decades ago. God puts His love in our hearts, and we want to tell everyone the truths being revealed to us. And we do this without asking ourselves this question: What does this person need to hear?

Christ does tell us to feed His lambs and sheep. But what truths should we share with the little lambs? “Feed me with the food that is needful for me” is the measuring rod that will help us make sure we are choosing the right thing for the hearer’s growth (Prov. 30: 8 ESV). Should we give a baby beef steak? Should we give strong meat that is hard to digest to “babes in Christ”? No. We should consider the needs of the hearers.

Which portion of the truth should we give? We are to give that portion that will meet their need. When we are fishing for men, we should use the bait that they are able and willing to bite.

Some portions of the truth will drive away the very ones we are trying to win. Christ warns us to not offend one of the little ones that believe in Him.

So how do we know what truths to share? We look at our examples in the scriptures and see what truths they shared. Peter gives us the short answer for new hearers: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” And after repentance, have faith in God that He is returning to earth to establish His kingdom (Acts 3: 19-21). The message? Repentance from sin and have faith in God.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2: 42-43). Repentance and faith are the first two of the apostles’ doctrine. All seven of them are found in Hebrews 6: 1-2. These seven teachings of Christ are the “milk of the word.” This milk of the word is what the little lambs of God need.

My latest book, The Apostles’ Doctrine, shares details of these seven teachings of Christ. His doctrine is the necessary bread from heaven for His people to spiritually grow into men and women of God. They are the “first principles of the oracles of God” (Heb. 5: 10-14). Paul wanted to share more about Melchisedec, but it was not what his readers needed. They needed the milk of the word, the apostles’ doctrine, the teachings of Christ, so Paul met their need.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[If you would like a free copy with free shipping of The Apostles’ Doctrine, just send your mailing address to my email:   wayneman5@hotmail.com ]

[Ordering My Free Books in Paperback

I am now able to send you a copy of my books absolutely free with free shipping.  Please specify which one.

Yah Is Savior: The Road to Immortality explores the deeper meaning of our Savior’s Hebrew name Yahshua, which means Yahweh is the Savior.

The Unveiling of the Sons of God explains how the whole creation is waiting and longing for the manifestation (the unveiling) of the sons of God for these latter days. Christ will be totally formed in His elect as they will have grown and matured spiritually into His likeness and power.

The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect. It explores God’s vision for us, to be kings with Christ and how He will use us to reproduce His nature of Love.

My latest book is The Apostles’ Doctrine. Their doctrine was Christ’s teachings. And the early church walked in those teachings. This book reveals just what they are and how to walk in them.

Send your request, specifying which one of my books you desire, to my email address:  wayneman5@hotmail.com  Include your name and mailing address. For those outside the United States, or who may prefer a pdf copy of the last two books mentioned, please specify.  Also, you may read the first two books online at my website Immortality Road found here:   https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com

God bless you and your family, and thank you for taking a stroll with me on Immortality Road.]

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Healings—Physical and Spiritual: How God Uses Them to Reproduce Himself

God’s story is a story of healings, both physical and spiritual. The healing of man’s body, soul, and spirit is one of the signs that “shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17-18).

And just as “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” all human beings have been physically sick.  Both the sinner and the righteous have endured physical sickness. It seems that it is the red badge of being human. And especially when we are down physically, it is difficult to see the spiritual side of our malady. Yet, physical health is spiritual, insomuch as when illness strikes, it seems to force the mind to think mortal thoughts—sometimes literally.

I wrote in my journal on February 27, 2005, about a serious bout with the flu that I was experiencing:

“I have been sick for the last two weeks. Very sick. Unable to read or write sick. Unable to smile sick. I have forgotten what laughter is, what a baby’s smile can do for you. I have forgotten what joy is. I have begun to contemplate my own mortality. Days ago, accomplishments and interests that I have pursued in my life fell into a worthless pile of discarded actions—things like playing the guitar, singing, speaking Spanish, teaching literature, travel…

They all fell away into a pit of hopelessness. The pursuits of this world’s dimension suddenly seemed vain, a thing of no real profit, especially for all the energy we put into them. In the final scheme of things, my daily endeavors seemed trivial, of little consequence…The will is there, but the weak body prevents any movement toward activities.Momma just called and told me, ‘Always remember that I love you.'”

As you see here, it is difficult to think on the invisible Spirit/Creator when you are sick. Therefore, physical sickness is in the end a spiritual attack because it pulls our mind down from heavenly thoughts to the frailties of the earthly body. Physical sickness drains our mind of its will and capacity to elevate its thinking to rarified realms of unselfish love. When the body lies in weakness and in pain, it is difficult for our spirits to climb the ladder of perfection.

Sin and Sickness Linked

Physical sickness and the spiritual state of sin are inextricably linked in the mind of God. Christ taught that the healing of the body poured forth from the same fountain as the forgiveness of sin. He asked, “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house” (Matt. 9: 5-6).

The key word here is “to say.” To say, “I forgive you” is a powerful declaration by the divine nature in a regenerated individual. He gave us a New Commandment to forgive others. We have that power as God’s offspring. He wants us to exercise it. And He has given us power and authority to also say, “Rise and walk.” Christ said that both forgiveness and healing come from the same source—speaking the words of physical healing as well as the spiritual.

Healings originate out of God’s merciful heart of love. With great compassion He healed all those oppressed during His walk on earth. But He made it plain that at the root of this gift of healing lies a spiritual concern.

Christ’s major thrust was for the healing of man’s spiritual heart. His command for man to repent of his sins took center stage. When He came into a village and gathered the people together, He did not first say, “I am going to heal all your diseases. So bring those that are sick to Me.” No, He said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He dealt with the spiritual sickness first. What good is a healthy body that has just been healed, if the heart inside is still sinful? “But that you may know that the Son of man has power to forgive sins, I say unto the sick of palsy, Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” The physical healings took place as proof that the spiritual healing was indeed real. Did not Christ also say, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matt. 23:26). First get rid of the sinful nature inside of your body, and then the physical body will be healed as well. Death of the earthly body comes because of the sin within. “The wages of sin is death.”

We see this in Isaiah’s vision, where he showed Yahweh lamenting for His people. He called them a “sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity,” with their head “sick, and their whole heart faint” (Isa. 1:4-5). We see here in chapter one how Yahweh likens Israel’s sinful state to a physical sickness. Their sin to God seems as “wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores” that have not been treated (v. 6).

The evil state of the world is described in Isaiah 59:1-21. The answer to the desperate cry of the earth’s inhabitants who are trapped in the misery of sin is found in Isaiah 61. It is Yahweh’s promise of the healing that will take place upon His return to earth: “To give unto them beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning…” The kicker for us is that He will use the over comers during the “manifestation of the sons of God” to pour out all of His love to them.     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Receiving Authority to Cast Out Satan and To Heal

We saw in the October 23rd post that when we “resist the devil, he will flee from you.” We resist by thinking God’s thoughts seen in the metaphor of God’s armor (Eph. 6:13-18). The Spirit says to “arm yourselves” with the mind of Christ. Think His thoughts; they are found in the armor of God. God is the armor.

But we Christians have a problem. We are not fully dressed with His armor–His thoughts. And we wade out into the spiritual battlefield to combat our enemy, Satan. And many of us do not believe that we will have the victory over him. Many of us are plagued with the thoughts that the giants are too big. Many of us do not approach the fight like David did facing Goliath. David had no doubts about who would win. His trust was with Yahweh working through him. He defeated Goliath and the Philistines melted in fear and ran.

How did David walk in such authority? God says that we have that same power in the spiritual realm today.  He said that we now have the power to heal, to grow in His Spirit, and basically to become like the early apostles.

Questions come to mind. Why aren’t we Christians using this power more effectively? How does the power to cast out of Satan happen exactly? How does God do it through us? Knowing the truth about this will make us free of spiritual impotency when we come face to face with the enemy. Which piece of knowledge ushers us into this kind of authority over Satan?

Sovereignty

The answers lie in an understanding of God’s sovereignty. We should realize that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts initially. When we study His word, ideally we discipline our minds to think how He thinks. It is a kind of self-sacrifice, an abdicating of our innate human-centered stance in favor of our Creator’s thoughts about us and our position in the universe. And our position as His son or daughter is one with authority.

First, based on His words about Himself, God is sovereign; we are not. Mankind is so humanistic that we actually think that we make the choices that govern our existence. When all the while it was God behind the scenes working His will out on the earth’s stage. He chose us, and with His choices, He has guided our direction back to Him. “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit…” (John 15: 16).

For we in our first state have not the power to say to ourselves, “Live on forever.” Sooner or later we are faced with that disappointing reality called death. God rules in the kingdom of men. It is not our ball game; it is His. And with purposeful precision He has laid out the ground rules for us humans.

He Created Good and Evil

God in His sovereignty, created both good and evil. “I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the LORD [Yahweh] do all these things” (Isa. 45:7). But why the evil? God uses evil to develop and mature the good in those whom He has chosen, which are His elect. He foreknew that mankind would have a precocious predilection for self; He made man that way. He foreknew that the humans He had created would rebel and fall; He was the producer of that tragedy—for a purpose: that mankind would cry out to Him, seeking solace from their Creator. Our tragic fall into the evil of sin would be the very environment that would produce a grateful heart upon our deliverance.

God is sovereign; He does it His own brilliant way. We would not have written the script with evil causing us to suffer. We would write it where we would not have an antagonist to struggle against. God’s thoughts are not ours, but we can make them ours.

He Created Angels To Be Our Servants

He created the angels to be “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14). “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (NIV).

Lucifer is one of the angels, an angelic spirit created by YHWH to minister to the sons and daughters of God. Lucifer received orders from Yahweh to become the minister of evil here on earth. Lucifer became Satan and is the god of this world. He dispenses the evil under God’s supervision. He and his cohorts are sent to serve and minister sufferings to us. We become stronger in God when we overcome Satan and the sufferings. Therefore, Satan is my servant and minister. Yours, too. The irony is rich; what Satan means for harm, God uses for good. You cannot out-god God. All angels, then, are spirits created by God to help us reach the goals that He has set for us. They exist to help us grow up to be joint-heirs with Christ of the Father’s kingdom.

We Are Satan’s Master

Fifth, even though Satan is the minister of evil, he is an angel, and by definition, he is still serving and ministering to us. Satan is our servant. Therefore, with the Holy Spirit inside, we are Satan’s master. We have power over him. We have power from God to cast him out, “to loose the bands of wickedness and undo the heavy burdens,” and to heal those oppressed of the devil. When we resist Satan, he flees. We are to resist him in others, not just ourselves. We have power over our own servant.

When we really believe this truth, we will walk with authority, knowing the truth about our position and our enemy’s place in God’s plan and purpose. And because we understand now that we are Satan’s master, we will command him to leave and be gone from the people we love, and we will give them “beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning” (Isa. 61:3).

For it is this authority, presented to us through the knowledge of the holy, that generates the power to first cast out the devil and then to heal others. Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

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