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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/ ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Thy Kingdom Come”–His Kingdom Is the Gospel

Sometimes we just do not know what we should pray to the Father about. “We know not what we should pray for as we ought,” but the Spirit is there to help us (Rom 8: 26). And He helps us to know through the ideas presented in the “Lord’s Prayer.” Christ’s example prayer presents the thoughts of the Almighty Father. We are to understand its precepts and communicate with God accordingly. We are not to use the “Lord’s Prayer” as an exercise in rote regurgitation–no matter how sincerely it is repeated.

“Thy kingdom come” is the next precept Christ is teaching us from His example prayer. What is the Father’s kingdom? Is it just when we on a personal level are “born again”? Is that the extent of the Father’s governance in the earth? Personal salvation is wonderful and is truly the seed beginning of His kingdom in this earth. But that seed grows.

In fact, “the kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed…which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matt 13: 31-32).

The parables reveal the secrets and mysteries of the Father’s kingdom (Matt 13: 11). And the big secret revealed in the mustard seed parable is that the Father’s kingdom grows into a gigantic spiritual and political entity that is so powerful that the other nations (birds of the air) seek shelter in its branches.

This is the same government originating from heaven that Daniel saw in the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The king had a terrifying dream that showed the fall of all the satanic governments of the world, caused by the coming and full fruition of God’s government, the kingdom of heaven. Daniel told him that “there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets and makes known…what shall be in the latter days” (Dan 2: 28).

The latter days. That’s our time. The world Gentile empires are coming down, brought about by the coming of “the kingdom of heaven” to this earth. We know the dream with the great image of gold, silver, brass, and iron, signifying the four world empires in history. And there came the stone kingdom from heaven that smashed into the feet of the image, and it came crashing down. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan 2: 44). The Father’s kingdom is not just an invisible feel-good-in-the-Spirit kingdom, but it is literal and political, as well as spiritual. It is a government ruled by a benevolent Monarch. It is coming to earth in the latter days–in our time.

So, “thy kingdom come.” The Father in Christ is coming back to this earth to govern, insuring peace throughout the far flung corners of the globe for a thousand years. And He “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This is the good news. This government, this kingdom brought here by our Father through His Son–this true gospel is the good news of our Father’s government literally coming to fill the whole earth with His righteous ways.

Christ in this section of the “Lord’s Prayer” teaches us the importance of the Father’s kingdom.  A kingdom is a literal form of government headed by a monarch.  He is the King.  Thy kingdom come…in earth as it is in heaven.  His kingdom already rules in heaven; shortly it will rule completely on earth.

This is the good news proclaimed in the four gospels in the so-called “New Testament” of the Bible.  Many scriptures back this up.  “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).  Believe what gospel?  The “gospel of the kingdom of God.”  He is saying, God’s government is here.  Because it is at hand, you need to repent from your old selfish life, and believe this good news of God ruling on earth.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14).  It is this gospel, this true gospel of the kingdom of God that must be proclaimed throughout the whole world before the end of the age will come.  The gospel preached by the vast majority of pastors is “another gospel” about Christ. It is a shallow shadow of the good news. It focuses on “getting saved” and does not mention a peep about the grandeur of His world wide rule. Salvation is precious, but it is just the first step. It is the germination of that mustard seed, but there is so much more after that.

Thy kingdom come. We, then, should pray with this glorious vision that Christ has, when He taught His disciples to pray.  His kingdom is a vision of an earth free from corruption and cruelty–free from addiction and selfishness–free from hunger and desperation–free from greedy leaders who cast the poor in chains of lies and deceit–free from husbands and wives betraying those who love them the most–free from broken-hearted children thrown out like trash by selfish parents–free from the evil that pillages every soul on earth–

This is the gospel of the Kingdom of God.  This is the good news that will fill the earth when Christ comes back and sits down on the throne of our invisible Father.  And His sons and daughters will sit alongside Him in His kingdom right here on earth.  And He will dispatch us His princes and princesses out into the ravished earth to rebuild and restore what the evil ones wasted.

“Thy kingdom come” evokes much about the glorious vision God has for His earth.  We need to pray toward this end.  He told us to not ask for things for ourselves, but rather, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”       Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

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Lord’s Prayer–“Which Art in Heaven”–He Is from Above, Not Beneath

Our Father is the God of heaven. That is a profound thought that is easily passed over. In other words, the true God is not born of the imagination of earthly man.  This is what we are to take away from the words in the Lord’s prayer, “Which art in heaven.”  There are “gods many, but for us there is only one God.”  These “gods many” are conjured up by natural unregenerated man–“cunningly devised fables,” false conceptions of Christ.

And the masses are deceived.  “Satan deceives the whole world.”  How can he do that?  “For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (II Cor. 11:14-15). But every “Christian minister” will tell you that they are a teacher of the truth. Just ask them. But they all cannot be right because they disagree so wildly in their doctrines. So we must ask ourselves: Who then are Satan’s ministers who speak about Christ and yet deceive the whole world with their teachings? Since there is no idle word in God, somebody is fulfilling this word right now!

Wait a minute.  Paul has just said that Satan will come as a messenger of truth and light by having priests, pastors, and preachers bringing forth sermons about Christ and His righteousness!  Satan’s ministers will be preaching about Christ in the last days.  But it will not be the true “gospel of the kingdom of heaven.”  It will be “another gospel” other than the one that the apostle Paul preached.  It will not be from heaven, but it will be from beneath.

It will be a gospel concocted by the vain imaginations of natural thinking men.  It will be based on “what God can do for you,” and not “what God can do through your vessel.”  They will claim to be His servants, but at the end, He will say, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity.  I never knew you.”  You wanted prosperity instead of Me. You wanted your spin on the end time and not My timetable.  You wanted a rapturously easy way out of the hard times ahead and not “to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ.”

This false gospel from beneath will emanate from an “earthly, sensual, and devilish” wisdom and not from heaven above.  This false gospel will spout “in Jesus’ name” but their hearts will be far from the God of Heaven and far from His heart.

This false gospel comes in many colors and flavors.  Most people shop around until they find a church with their kind of “Jesus” in it.  Most depend on the pastor to do their studying for them.  Few dig deep and “prove all things” with the Spirit’s help. This false gospel of Jesus is not from our Father, which is in heaven.  It is not from above, but from beneath. {Note: Church is a way station only on our pilgrimage to the Holy City.  We must eventually leave the way station, grow out of it, etc.}

Our Father and His plan of reproducing Himself in His sons and daughters is from heaven, not from sinful man’s imagination of what they thought God meant.  No, our Father emanates from the finer spiritual dimension we call heaven.  He is far above the selfish, conniving imaginations of un-spiritual man trying to be religious, leaning to his own understanding.

His thoughts are not our thoughts.  “It is a heavenly vision, a heavenly faith, a heavenly destiny, a heavenly plan, a heavenly purpose, a heavenly blueprint, a heavenly way, a heavenly thought of a heavenly Father, who is above all this on earth and is in us whom He has called”   (quoted from The Unveiling of the Sons of God  https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/ebook-the-unveiling-of-the-sons-of-god/ ).

We must keep this in mind in our communication to Him because He is “Our Father, which art in heaven.”  He’s from above and not from beneath.     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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The Lord’s Prayer–God’s Blueprint for Building His Temple–Us

The Lord’s Prayer is a blueprint showing us how to become His temple, which is the habitation of God.  It is not a ritualistic chant.

An architect’s blueprint contains blue lines and white paper that to the trained eye reveal what the building should look like.

The Lord’s prayer is a spiritual blueprint that shows us what the temple of God looks like and how to build it. Christ said that His house “shall be called of all nations the house of prayer” (Mark 11: 17).  And in His example prayer to us, we understand what those prayers consist of in His temple.  And His temple is us (I Cor. 3:16).  We, His sons and daughters, born from above, born of the King, are now His princes and princesses in training to rule with Him.  “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21).

So what do we do with a blueprint?  A building contractor would not stand around repeating the dimensions found in the blueprint. By merely reading and repeating the words and figures found on the blueprint, the edifice would never get built.  Rather, he has to study it, visualize it, believe in the vision of the architect for the building, and get to work in order to make it a reality.  This is what God’s children need to be doing–studying out His example prayer and understanding what it means, and then do it.

To illustrate, the disciples asked Jesus (Yahshua in Hebrew–the same name as the anglicized name “Joshua”… <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/joshua> ).  “Teach us to pray.”  And He told them, “After this manner pray,” and then He spoke the model prayer.

“After this manner…”  After this way.  Make your communication to God based on these precepts I’ve given you in this example prayer, He was saying.  And the precepts are based in selflessness.

But many prayers that are offered up to God are shameless petitions for self–asking for material things.  These prayers cannot penetrate the brass of heaven’s dome.

To be heard by the Almighty, we must get on His wavelength.  And God’s all about reproducing Himself.  We are now “born of that incorruptible seed, the word of God.”  But that is just the start.  We must grow up into him, no longer content to be little babies in Christ, always wanting something from Him.

We must study to unlock the secrets of His kingdom, secrets held close to the heart of God, secrets that He will reveal to them that are in awe of Him, secrets encrypted in a spiritual blueprint called “The Lord’s Prayer.”

So, let us dig into it, line by line, phrase by phrase, extracting His thoughts about how He is going to get Himself down into His temple, us.  This I hope to do in the next few posts, beginning next time with “The Lord’s Prayer–Our Father.”  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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The Lord’s Prayer Is Not a Chant

There’s no magical powers in repeating the Lord’s Prayer.  And let’s face it.  It has been reduced to a chant, to a ritual of repetitious words with the intent that –poof!–magically our sins are forgiven or our requests are granted.

Chanting the Lord’s Prayer is taking his blueprint for prayer and using it as a “verbal charm” to enchant God into giving us what we want from Him.  Doing this is using an enchantment (which God forbids) and is the very definition of “incantation.”

“incantation–the chanting or uttering of words purporting to have magical power; a spell or charm”   <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/incantation>

“incantation–ritual recitation of verbal charms or spells to produce a magic effect; a conventionalized utterance repeated without thought”  <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/incantation>

“Repeated without thought…”  Isn’t that what’s being done with the Lord’s prayer?  Reducing it to a chant?  Definition of “chant”:  “The use of religious phraseology without understanding or sincerity; empty solemn speech, implying what is not felt; hypocrisy.” <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chant> )

To mindlessly repeat the Lord’s Prayer “without understanding” its profound depths of meaning is cheapening it; it is futile and vain.  In fact, Christ warns us to not do this very thing. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7).  Heathens use incantations, enchantments, sorcery and spells.  “Be not ye therefore like unto them” (v. 8).

We as His sons and daughters must press in, dig deep, and seek to know what He’s saying to us in the Lord’s prayer and to use it as a blueprint in our communication to Him and for Him.

A blueprint is a “detailed outline or plan of action.”  His model prayer contains God’s thoughts, plan, and purpose.  And we are to pray in accordance with its precepts.

Prayer is communication with God.  So God wants us to first know His thoughts, plan, and purpose so that we can commune with Him on what He wants to accomplish here on earth.  And He wants to use us.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

{To read more on this, check out ch. 13 of my book, The Unveiling of the Sons of God found at the top of this sites homepage}

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Living in the “Now”–Having the Mind of Christ

Now is the only sliver of time we have to actually live the life God wants us to live.  Right now is when we really live in the Spirit.

Yesterday is but a memory of a “now” long past, an aging “now” that was already lived. The “past” is a fruitless tree for the hungry pilgrim today.

And tomorrow is a hoped for “now.” It is a dream of what a future “now” might be. But tomorrow’s promise is empty for most, for it rarely delivers our desire of what we would have the future hold. It usually does not work out as anticipated. So when “tomorrow” finally comes, it becomes “today.” It becomes a “now’ that is disappointing, for it rarely measures up to our imaginations of what it should be.

And so today’s “now” does not satisfy individuals who ponder their pasts and futures. Their “now” becomes blah. And because their present moment is not fulfilling, their minds race yet again to the past and future.

Monitor your mind for thirty minutes, and you will see it jump to thoughts of things and situations that have already occurred or things that might occur in the future.

So there is only one thing to do. Right now we should open our eyes and see the sun’s rays reflect light off of the trembling leafy mirrors of the pear tree. We must inhale the song of the boisterous blue jay clothed in myriad shades of azure. We should listen to the bubbling of a toddler’s joy, reaching down to hold their trusting hand. In a word, we should experience our own “now” with its accompanying sights and sounds and tastes and smells and touch.

It is this “now,” which is free from the fears, frustrations, regrets, and anxieties of our pasts and futures, that is the only environment in which we may hear that “still small voice” of God. He will not try to compete with the cacophony of nonsense our thoughts portray. They will drown His voice out every time. It is only the quiet mind, listening in the “now,” that He will speak to.

For prayer is not just us speaking to God, but it is a conversation. He would like to speak a word to us, too. He wants to speak to us right now, but we can’t hear Him if we are thinking about our pasts and futures.

Radio Noise

Our minds are like a radio, receiving thought-signals constantly. If we are listening to the trivial worldly signals, our lives become a worldly broadcast. If we train our minds to block the thoughts of our pasts and futures, then we quiet our minds to live in this very moment. And it is in this very moment, that God can speak to us.

Other voices speak out of our pasts and futures. When we listen to these interior monologues, we cannot hear clearly God’s transmission to us. We cannot hear the “still small voice,” nor can we hear the “voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD (Yahweh).”

As Christians, we are to “let this mind be in you that was in Christ.” He was not thinking about our pasts and futures.” We are to “arm ourselves with the same mind” as His.

Gaining the knowledge of what was in His mind is half the battle. The other half is arming ourselves with His very thoughts about His plan and purpose, free from worldly imaginations and “old leaven.” This is putting “on the whole armor of God.” And this starts with the purging of our old thoughts and replacing them with Christ’s thoughts, which can only be added in the “now.”    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Simplifying Worship–Offering the “Calves of Our Lips”

How does God want us to worship Him?  The biblical answer is really very simple, but humans lean to their own understanding and make it extremely complicated.

They put worshipers in the bondage of certain conditions and offerings and meetings three times a week where you have to come to the ‘house of the Lord’ because no other place will do and money, money, money and pilgrimages and forced prayer times and hocus pocus rituals and incense and holy water and fastings and observances and physical sprinklings and beads and prayercloths and sundayschool and bar mitzvahs and idols and images that ooze and gotta-read the Bible everyday and giving our children to be brainwashed into another man made religion  and, and…

Is that what God wants us to do to worship Him?  To blindly follow what others have imagined that we should do? To throw every conceivable ritual against the wall and hope that something sticks?

God does not need us to give Him or His “ministry” money; He owns the whole earth and everything in it.  The only thing that He does not have is our grateful heart.  And that is all He wants.  He wants us to just sincerely thank Him and praise Him for all that He has done for us.

Why do we not thank Him?  It is because we do not believe that He has delivered us and saved us from a disastrous and futile existence.  He has already done this; all we must do is believe it.  He has delivered us from sin and from sinning.  All we need do is walk in His grace and mercy.  Those who do this will thank Him, for they know what a deep pit they have been lifted out of.  And they are thankful to Him for His love to them.

And so they continue to call upon Him in “the day of trouble,” and He delivers them, and they thank Him, and in so doing, together they create a circle of glorification of God.  God is glorified through us thanking Him (Psalm 50: 15).

We are admonished to “offer unto God thanksgiving” (v. 14) and to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually..the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13: 15).

The thanksgiving and praise we give to God are the sacrifices we give to Him now in this present age.  Our offerings should not be money but thanks and praise.  We now should offer “the calves of our lips” instead of the animal sacrifices under the old testament (Hosea 14: 2).

We simply thank Him now, sincerely from a “broken and contrite heart.”  And He hears us and has compassion on us and is near to us.  This is worshiping Him in Spirit and in truth.  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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