Suffering and the Great Controversy - Part 1
To understand the context in which suffering exists, we must understand something far greater than our own experience in this fallen world. We must understand the great controversy between God and Satan.
God is the source of all things good. He is the source of existence, life, power, space, matter, love, truth, etc. And God is infinite. Everything about God is infinite. He is infinite in power. He is infinite in knowledge. He is infinite in existence. He is infinite in location. And every quality of God’s is infinite as well. He has infinite love, infinite forgiveness, infinite patience, infinite justice, infinite mercy, and so on. God has always been, and God will always be. God never had a beginning, and He will never have an end. There was never a time when there wasn’t God, and there will never be a time when there won’t be God.
Before God made the first thing, He had already existed forever and possessed every quality He possesses to an infinite degree. God was infinite in power, knowledge, existence, location, love, forgiveness, patience, justice, mercy, etc. before He made the first creature. And God was complete in Himself and perfectly content for eternity before He ever created the first creature. God has no needs.
God did not create creatures because He needed them. He didn’t need their service. He didn’t need their praise. He didn’t need their worship. He didn’t need anything from them. God created creatures because He wanted them. He created creatures so that He could supply their needs.
God created all things dependent upon Himself. He is the source of all things good, and He created His creatures to need that which is good, such as love, truth, righteousness, respect, and gain. And He created His creatures in His image—to reflect aspects of His character. Because God is loving, joyful, and purposeful, to be like Him brings love, joy, and purpose.
God is love—unselfish love. Unselfishness always does what it does for other’s sake and not for its own sake. Therefore, God always does what He does for other’s sake and not for His own sake. Yes, what He does is because of Who He is. And yes, what He does results in good to Himself. But He doesn’t do what He does for the good that comes to Him. He does what He does for the good that comes to us. What God says, what He does, how He responds, the directions and commands He gives, what He permits, and the consequences He gives are always for the good of others and not for His own good.
God does not contradict Himself. As He possesses His qualities to an infinite degree, He cannot have the slightest lack of that quality or be the opposite of that quality. He is the truth; therefore, He cannot lie (see Titus 1:2). He is unselfish love; therefore, He cannot be selfish. He is righteous and just; therefore, He cannot be unrighteous or unjust (see Deuteronomy 32:4). God will never do anything that is inconsistent with His character.
God created all things to function in harmony with His law—the Fundamental Law—taking power and resources from their appointed source and using it to pass power and resources on to others. In other words, God created all things so they would take to give.
And God created each intelligent creature to take in the love they need and to give love away to others. In other words, God created each intelligent creature to be loved and to love. Love cannot be forced. It must be voluntary. And it can only be experienced by a creature that has the capacity of self-government. If I programmed you so that you would always do what I asked you to do, that you would always be cheerful while you did it, and that you would always respond in a loving manner, but you had no capacity to govern yourself, could you love? The answer is no. You would be a robot, and a robot has no capacity to accept or give genuine love. Love can only be love when there is a capacity to freely govern self. So, God created His intelligent creatures to be free—to only govern themselves and to never be governed by others. For this is the only way that love could be preserved.
God created every intelligent creature with the capacity to govern themselves, but He also created them dependent upon Himself and the resources that He created them to function by, such as power, materials, love, truth, etc. Every resource that you need to exist, to function, and to live comes from outside of you. And it is you who must bring what you need inside of yourself so that you can live. While something can be forced into the body against your will, nothing can be forced into your mind without your will. Why? Because you were created to govern yourself. Therefore, only you can control what is accepted and brought into you or what is rejected and left outside of you.
There are physical means of bringing into yourself what you need physically. You breathe to bring in oxygen. You drink to bring in water. You eat to bring in food, etc. And, under usual conditions, only when your needs are taken in and become a part of you, can you live. But when it comes to your spiritual needs, there is only one action that brings in all the things you need spiritually, and that action is faith. Faith is belief that results in active dependance upon what is believed. And faith is what brings in from outside of you the spiritual things you need, so that they come inside of you.
Everything you need comes from a source, which is God. To take what you need from God by faith, you must first bind yourself to Him by trust. And to bind yourself to Him by trust, you must first know who you are in relation to Him. God created each intelligent creature with an identity, and that identity is a child of God. When you know that you are a child of God, that you belong to God, that He is the source of everything you need, then you can bind yourself to Him by trust, and take in by faith the love, acceptance, respect, understanding, etc. that you need from Him. So, identity is the very beginning of the individual. And it is from identity that you govern yourself.
When you have the right identity, you govern yourself correctly, putting your trust in the right source, and exercising your faith to take from that source what you need. And that is how God created every intelligent creature to function. As God is the only Source of all things we need, He created humanity dependent upon Himself, with an identity that we are children of God, with our trust placed on Him as our source, and taking from Him by faith everything we need.
And God created us that we would have pleasure as a result of fulfilling our needs. It is pleasurable to eat. It is pleasurable to drink. It is pleasurable to breathe. It is pleasurable to be loved. It is pleasurable to be respected, honored, understood, etc.
But God did not create us to keep things to ourselves. He created us to take what we need and then give to others. Imagine how huge (and uncomfortable) you would be if you kept every bite of food you ever ate, every swallow of liquid you ever drank, and every breath of air you ever breathed. No, God did not create you to be a Dead Sea. He created you to be a channel, taking what you need and freely giving to others.
And God made it pleasurable to give. It is pleasurable to love others. It is pleasurable to respect others. It is pleasurable to understand others. It is pleasurable to help others. It is pleasurable to give good to others when you have already taken what is good from God.
Created by God to govern ourselves, God gave us the correct identity by which we orient ourselves to Him, put our trust in Him, accept His standard as the standard by which we evaluate information and determine what is truth, and by faith accept (believe) what we determine is truth. That standard is used by us to also determine what is gain. By that standard, we evaluate information, accepting what we determine is truth, and doing what we determine is gain. We cannot accept what we determine to be a lie, and we cannot do what we determine to be a loss. We can only go after the truth and gain, not lies and loss.
And the standard that God created all creation to operate by is the Law of Life—the Law of God—taking to give. When we have the Law of Life as our standard, we accept and believe all truth as truth, reject all lies as lies, see all things that are gain as gain and do them, and see all things that are loss as loss and avoid them.
Created by God to govern ourselves, nothing can force anything (information, another standard, etc.) into us without our consent. We are always free to govern ourselves. Only thus could our capacity to love be preserved. And God Himself will never overrule our self-government, for how He created us to function was perfect. There was nothing wrong with anything He created, so there isn’t anything that He must fix or change in what He created.
Because God created intelligent creatures to govern themselves, He has no responsibility for how His creatures govern themselves. Their own self-government is their own responsibility. Having created His intelligent creatures with the right identity, source, and standard, they always accepted the truth, pursued the gain, bound themselves to Him by trust, took in their needs by faith, had pleasure when they took in and supplied what they needed, and had pleasure when they gave to others what the others needed. Hence, there was never a reason that any of His creatures should ever do anything wrong.
Operating as they were created, all would take what they need from God by trust & faith, and give freely away to others, thus living a life of pleasure, believing the truth, and doing what is gain. All would be in perfect harmony, taking from God and giving to others, having greater and greater pleasure and purpose in taking and giving more and more to others. And all would be joyful and at peace living freely a life of unselfish love. But something happened. Something unexplainable.
In heaven, there are various angels, with different positions and different capabilities. There were two angels who were the closest to God, standing in His immediate presence. These angels are called covering cherubim and were symbolized by the two golden angels over the ark of the covenant in the temple. The highest ranking of all the created angels was Lucifer, who was one of the covering cherubim (see Ezekiel 28:14). He had great responsibility and was greatly respected by the other angels.
The Fall of Lucifer
The reason for what happened next can never be understood or explained. We can never answer the question, “Why did it happen?” But we can answer the question, “What happened?”
Unexplainably, Lucifer became self-deceived, thinking that his great beauty, wisdom, and influence came from and belonged to himself (see Ezekiel 28:17). His focus turned from God as the Source of all his needs, and he began to look more and more to himself. As he continued to do so, the deception grew in his mind until he began to see things from a wrong perspective—a perspective which appeared to him to be right.
Lucifer began to think that he was the source of his qualities and capacities. He began to think that the good he was doing was coming from himself. And he wanted more and more for himself. As impossible as it seems, he was a creature desiring to be a creator. He was an effect desiring to be the cause.
Created to govern himself, Lucifer unexplainably deceived himself into believing that he was a god. With his identity changed, he removed his trust from God and put it in himself and began to depend upon himself, rather than upon God. As all creatures could only attach themselves to their source by trust and take from that source by faith, and as all creatures were dependent upon the power, love, truth, and resources that came from God in order to live and function, the moment that Lucifer removed his trust from God and put it in himself, he should have died, for he removed himself from that which he needed to live. But, instead of allowing Lucifer to die as a consequence of this deception, God artificially preserved his life.
Why did God artificially preserve Lucifer’s life? Wouldn’t it have been better for him to just die and all the suffering that has resulted since that time to never have happened? Didn’t God know what was going to happen if Lucifer lived? If God knew, and He preserved Lucifer’s life anyway, doesn’t that make God responsible for all that Lucifer has done and all the suffering that has come from it? Isn’t God the real monster in this story? This is what many believe—many whom I counsel with who have a hard time trusting a God who would allow so much suffering in their own lives and in the lives of others.
So, why did God artificially preserve Lucifer’s life? It wasn’t for God’s sake. It was for the sake of all His creatures. No creature at the time knew what sin was. It had never existed before. They didn’t know to what depths of hell it would lead. They had no clue. If God would have allowed Lucifer to die the moment he removed his trust from God, the other intelligent creatures would have questioned his death. “Why did he die? What did he do? What he did didn’t seem so bad, but the consequences God gave were horrible. It looks like God is the one who is evil. But God wields all the power, so if we don’t keep trusting him, we, like Lucifer, will all die as well.” They would then live in fear of the One who would “pull the plug” on them if they did anything wrong.
If someone puts a gun to your head and says, “Sweep the floor!” Can you do what they ask? Yes! If someone puts a gun to your head and says, “Clean my room, and act cheerful while you do it!” Can you do what they ask? Yes! If someone puts a gun to your head and says, “Convince me that you love me!” Can you do things that may look like you love them? Yes! But if someone puts a gun to your head and says, “Trust me!” Can you trust them? No! You can never trust one who forces you. You can only trust one who leaves you free to govern yourself.
Obedience, peace, joy, and harmony are only the fruits of love. They are never the fruits of fear. Fear can result in compliance. But fear can never result in obedience. Fear can result in uniformity. But fear can never result in unity. Fear will never bring lasting allegiance. Only love can do that. If God allowed Lucifer to die when he unplugged himself from God, fear would eventually take the place of love as the motivation of all God’s intelligent creatures. This would destroy unity, allegiance, obedience, and love, and would result in rebellion and the loss of ALL God’s intelligent creatures.
So, for the sake of all God’s intelligent creatures, and for the sake of preserving love, God artificially preserved Lucifer’s life when he removed his trust from God and placed it upon himself. Lucifer continued to govern his own life wrong, believing that he could live independent of God, while God’s mercy in preserving Lucifer’s life became “proof” to him that he could live independent of God.
As trust in himself continued to grow, Lucifer became more and more jealous of God. He wanted to make the decisions. He wanted to sit on the throne. He wanted to be worshipped, praised, and served by all (see Isaiah 14:13-14). And he became suspicious of God.
As Lucifer was now motivated by selfishness, even though he didn’t know what selfishness really was, he began to think that God was motivated by selfishness. He began to think that God did what He did for His own sake, and not for the sake of others. He believed that God wanted all to worship Him for His own sake. He believed that God wanted all to praise Him for His own sake. He believed that God wanted all to serve Him for His own sake. And He believed that God would do everything necessary to retain power and control of all things for His own sake.
Now, everything that God did was viewed through this false worldview, and everywhere Lucifer found “proof” that what he believed was true. He “saw” the selfishness of God in everything that God did. And if there is one thing that selfishness cannot tolerate, it is being treated selfishly by someone else. Evil cannot tolerate evil being done to itself. Only love can tolerate evil being done to itself. Evil will respond to evil with evil. Only love can respond to evil with love. As Lucifer perceived God as ruling with evil motives and purposes, he could not long tolerate God’s rules, requirements, and responses. And as he was the only one “smart enough” to see the “problem”, he must somehow save the foolish angels who didn’t see the problem as it really was. He must save them from their ignorance and blind subservience to God. There was a tyrant upon the throne, and that tyrant must be unmasked, and the masses freed from His tyrannical rule.
Of course, Lucifer believed that his own mind was perfect, therefore he was not subject to error. He truly believed the lie of his own false perceptions. And when it was revealed that God had a law by which all creatures operate, and to which all must obey, he saw this as an unnecessary imposition for the purpose of enforcing God’s dominion. “We angels are perfect,” he thought, “therefore we don’t need a law to govern us. Our own minds are a sufficient guide.”
Lucifer permitted these thoughts to grow until he believed he could take the place of God and rule heaven better than God could. So he devised a plan for the government of heaven that he considered to be superior to God’s government. His plan would discard God’s law, remove the “selfish” God from the throne, and have Lucifer as the ruler of all, giving all the freedom to follow their own will without restrictions. He truly believed that he was devising a way to save heaven from a tyrant ruler, and that he would be the benefactor of the hosts of heaven.
With the deception strongly entrenched in his own mind, Lucifer went about sharing his thoughts with others. All the time he was subverting God’s government, he claimed that he was only seeking to maintain the peace and harmony of heaven. While working for the destruction of heaven, he claimed that he was working for its good. He shared his thoughts of the selfishness of God, and many began to see things as Lucifer saw them. They began to see “proof” of God’s selfishness in how He ran heaven.
Use Your Suffering to Help Someone Else
Do you want to be involved in helping someone else who is suffering and struggling through a particular crisis at this moment? Do you want to take your talent of suffering and put it to good use? I know that many of you have been through difficult trials. No one can comfort and encourage someone in a particular trial like someone else who has gone through that same trial. If you are willing to be an accountability partner, prayer partner, or spiritual/life mentor for someone else. Let us know that you are willing to take this role, and also what types of traumas you would feel most comfortable working with. Send an email to us at [email protected]and let us know. We truly appreciate your involvement!
If you would like to be a part of our PRAYER TEAM, please send your name and email address to [email protected] and we will add you to our team. We are grateful for all who have volunteered and are always looking for more prayer warriors.
Group Session Notifications
We offer group sessions every Monday night from 6:30-8:30pm Central Time. If you would like to be notified/reminded before each group session begins, simply email us at [email protected] and let us know. We will add you to that list. Anyone can join the group sessions during those times at this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87592054012 and prior group sessions can be viewed on our YouTube channel HERE.
We had the privilege of ministering to the students and staff of Oklahoma Academy and the surrounding community members. Friday evening and Sabbath, we shared with the staff and students about the love of God, the need for complete surrender to His loving will for our lives, and an unreserved dedication to serving in God’s appointed way. And on Sunday, we presented a couple of lectures (The Power of Food / The Mind-Body Connection) for the community who came to Oklahoma Academy’s fourth International Food Festival. The International Food Festival was a great success with a few hundred community members enjoying ethnic vegetarian dishes from around the world.
We were blessed to meet with, get to know, and minister to our brothers and sisters in Concord, Arkansas. We spent a long Sabbath day talking about the cause of disease, its spiritual roots, and the practical gospel. We truly enjoyed our time there and the great fellowship over the weekend.
We received a shipment of 30 fruit trees and picked up a number of berry bushes this month. We rented a mini excavator for a day to dig the 30 holes necessary for the fruit trees (we hoped to get the holes for the berry bushes dug as well, but we ran out of time because of what happened below). We gave our little side-by-side a workout as a miniature, makeshift dump truck, transporting the clay from the holes we dug to another part of the property. We had a few real dump truck loads of topsoil brought in to mix with peat moss and fertilizer to fill the holes before planting the trees. We are still working hard to get all the trees in the ground.
On the same day we rented the mini excavator to dig the holes for the fruit trees, Grandpa was burning a fire near the woods. Despite his vigilance, the wind picked up some of the burning pieces of the fire and started our woods on fire! It was windy, and the fire moved fairly quickly. Everyone switched focus from tree planting to fire fighting. After some unsuccessful attempts at clearing some of the underbrush (the fire just jumped our cleared spots), we started filling any container we could find that would hold water and running it back to the fire to dowse the flames. Everyone was exhausted, some suffering from smoke inhalation, and others with singed hair, when we had the idea to fill one of the new 50-gallon barrels we had purchased, put it on the side-by-side, and drive it out into the woods so we could fill our containers quickly without having to run back and forth. This accomplished, we were able to get the fire under control just before the fire made it into our neighbor’s property.
When the fire was out, we got everything that was still smoldering and moved it away from the edge of the fire line to prevent the fire from starting again. But later, thanks to the wind, it started up again and we had round 2 of our firefighting experience! This time, we got the 50-gallon barrel filled up first and drove it through the woods to fight the fire. We got the fire under control much faster the 2nd time. This time, we put it out for good. But we beat up our little side-by-side in the process. In order to get the water to where we needed it, we had to just drive through a bunch of small trees, vines, and other obstacles. Now we get the joy of fixing the damage. But we are so grateful for this little side-by-side that worked so hard and well for is in this time of emergency. We were praying the whole time, asking God to help us, to show us what to do to cooperate with Him in fighting the fire, and to keep us safe. We are grateful for His protection, guidance, and abundant help!
Keep your eye out for new videos on our YouTube channel youtube.com/@NewParadigmMinistries We have recently uploaded a 24-part series of the Law of Life which you can find HERE. Of course, all our group sessions can be found on the channel HERE. We have started posting a 5-part Law of Life series in German, posting a new video each Thursday at 5pm German Time. Those will be found HERE. We have also started posting a 7-part Law of Life series in Portuguese which will present a new video each Tuesday at 3pm Central Time. Those will be found HERE. Also, keep an eye out for our new All About Addictions series which will be posted each Friday at 5pm Central Time starting this Friday. We will also start posting a Law of Life series in Serbian on Thursdays beginning in May.
Board Meeting & Future Plans
We had our 2023 board meeting in March. The board advised that I, Dr. Mark, stop taking new counseling appointments and start focusing on developing the resources that are necessary for New Paradigm Ministries to move forward. As difficult as it is to take this step, we realize that it is necessary in order to have the time needed to get the writing done that will make this ministry able to reach many more hurting people.
Dr. Dorothee Louis will still be available for your Biblical counseling and natural health consultation needs. Appointments can be scheduled with her on our website here: https://npmin.org/appointments If you would like to view Dr. Dorothee’s testimony, you can find that HERE.
We have made plans to develop a 48-part LIFE recovery program. This program will focus on each one of the LIFE components (Living Free, Improving Relationships, Finding Purpose, and Experiencing Health), over 12 weeks, with one book chapter, one workbook chapter, and one presentation completed with each weekly meeting. There will be one book and one workbook for each quarter, with 12 chapters in each book and workbook. After this is completed, we will develop a LIFE recovery app based upon the same outline and content as the LIFE recovery program. This will be followed by a LIFE Coach training program which will follow a similar outline. This outline will also serve as the core curriculum of long-term residential recovery programs that by God’s grace we will be able to develop in the future.
Please keep us in prayer. We don’t know how the Lord will work out our financial needs while we cut back on direct involvement in counseling so we can focus on developing these materials, but we know that He is faithful and will make a way.
Lessons From Covid
Lessons From Covid is a 11-part series that Dr. Sandoval developed to look at what happened in the Covid pandemic from a scriptural standpoint. The 17 lessons outlined in these 11 presentations are important for us today as we consider other infections, future epidemics or pandemics, vaccine mandates, and other coercive measures of enforcement that will recur in the future and how we are to relate to these things from a scriptural standpoint. Lessons From Covid is now available in HD on flash drive, with 9 hours of video, 11 presentations, and all the PowerPoint slides and PDF files for the entire series—all for only $45 (with free shipping in the US). To get an idea of what the series is like, watch this trailer. To order yours, please email us at [email protected].
Counseling or Health Consultations
If you are struggling with personal, relationship, or health challenges, virtual appointments can be scheduled through our website at https://npmin.org/appointments
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the SDA Church in Augusta, Georgia.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the SDA church in Landsdale, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking for the Amity SDA Church in Amity, Arkansas.
June 28-July 2
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the Red River Camp Meeting in Stanton, Kentucky.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the Hot Springs, SDA Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking for the Family Camp in Pearland, Texas.
We plan to have a booth at the international ASI convention in Kansas City, so come see us.
August 30 – September 2
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the MEET Ministry camp meeting in Huntingdon, Tennessee.
Join us in Cabool, Missouri for our first New Paradigm Ministries camp meeting! If you are looking for a spiritual revival and desire to experience the gospel in a practical way through small group sessions as well as personal reflection, then you won’t want to miss this opportunity! Plan to come and enjoy the beauty and quiet of the country while you receive a spiritual blessing!
New Paradigm Ministries plans to join the North American Outpost Centers International leadership retreat in Wildwood, Georgia.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking for the Orange City/Debary SDA Church in Debary, Florida.
Dr. Sandoval plans to be in Brazil promoting the Law of Life book, which has been translated into Portuguese.
Dr. Sandoval will be sharing the Law of Life at the Post Falls Idaho SDA Church.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking at the SDA Church in Champaigne, Illinois.
Dr. Sandoval will be sharing the Law of Life in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Sandoval will be conducting a mental health seminar at the Hayden Lake SDA Church north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking for the Red River Camp Meeting in Stanton, Kentucky.
Dr. Sandoval will be speaking for the Pathway to Paradise camp meeting in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
We will have our 2nd annual New Paradigm Ministries camp meeting at our ministry location in Cabool, Missouri.
If the Lord is laying it upon your heart to support the work of New Paradigm Ministries financially, we would be most appreciative. We still have some work that needs to be done in our campground before the camp meeting next September, including a new roof on our pavilion as well as gravel work on the road. Your tax-deductible donations can be given via check to:
New Paradigm Ministries
14527 Berry Rd.
Cabool, MO 65689
Or you can donate on our website HERE. Also, consider including New Paradigm Ministries in your will or estate planning.