Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | August 8, 2016

Will You Vote for the President in 2016?

Hotly Debated!

The question of Christians voting for the president in the 2016 election has become a polarizing topic in the Christian community. Some are saying they will not vote for either of the candidates, others are saying to vote for the lessor of two evils and often, but not always, identifying the lessor along party lines, while some may even be enthusiastic about the candidate of their choice.

No part of the Bible was written in a political setting such as we have today in the United States. The whole concept of the consent of the governed was generally alien to those times with some notable exceptions. In spite of that is it possible to find any guidance for this question of voting for president in the present circumstances?

Render Therefore Unto Caesar!

In Matthew 22:15-22 it is written:

15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

While this section had to do with paying taxes may we stretch things a little and apply it to other responsibilities even if they didn’t exist at the time the Bible was written? One of the basic responsibilities in a constitutional republic is the responsibility to vote, only by voting can the voice of the people be heard and the direction taken by the government be a true reflection of the will of the people, or so the theory goes.

Are we not then, by voting, rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s?

A Special Wrinkle

As a Christian man I am convinced the Bible is the word of God; it is written in Hebrews 4:12:

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The Bible makes some fascinating observations when it comes to governments and rulers; two verses come immediately to mind:

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. Daniel 4:17

and

13 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Romans 13:1

There are many other verses which show that national leadership is put in place by God and used by God in the accomplishment of His will. I believe it safe to say that whoever is elected will be there as God’s servant and be used by God according to divine plans formulated in eternity past. Do I think either of them would realize they are servants of the Almighty and the answer is of course they would not; neither of them would be prepared to admit they are being used as tools by God in the accomplishment of His will.

Regardless of who God selects His irresistible will shall be done! The future of the United States has been determined by God; the leaders of this country are nothing more than God’s servants chosen by God to serve as tools in the accomplishment of the will of Him “who works all things after the counsel of His own will.”

As Christians we must each determine whether we will render unto Caesar or not in the matter of voting; I suspect we are already rendering unto Caesar in the matter of taxes!

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 31, 2016

The World Will Surely End on July 29, 2016!

Or Not!

Yet another life extinction event has come and gone but this time largely unnoticed by most; it didn’t even rate a movie like 2012 did. A web site named “End Time Prophecies” has featured a short video telling the viewer why the world is coming to an end on July 29, 2016.

The “End Time Prophecies” web site wrote:

“Why The World Will End Surely on 29 July 2016 ? Shocking Facts

If you want to know When Will Be The End Times , the End Of The World , end of days, End of humanity and who is the Antichrist , you’re in the right place by reading Daniel. In fact the recorded prophecies tell the history of mankind from the days of the great Babylonian Empire. All the evidence tells us that the end of the world ,end of days and the end of time on 29 July 2016.”

The fact that we’re still here and nothing happened would suggest an error in calculation at the very least. While I am very enthusiastic about the prophecies in Daniel, what I would suggest is a failure to carefully examine all the prophecies as revealed in the Bible. I have previously written on “God’s Prophetic Calendar” and listed the order of the remaining events in what I believe to be the most likely order. In the two-part essay I noted the very next event on God’s prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church; which could happen at any minute.

In part 1 I showed a list of the events that are still awaiting fulfillment:

  1. The Rapture of the Church
  2. The Battle of Psalm 83
  3. The Battle of Gog and Magog
  4. The signing of the covenant agreement between Israel and the Antichrist
  5. The beginning of the Tribulation
  6. The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ
  7. The beginning of the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ
  8. The second battle of Gog and Magog at the end of the Millennium.
  9. The destruction of the present heavens and earth and the Great White Throne Judgment.
  10. The creation of the new heaven and earth and the beginning of eternity.

For those of you who may have an interest in more detail I invite you to read Part 1 here: God’s Prophetic Calendar

Efforts to establish an exact date are doomed to failure, God has chosen to reveal significant signs but conceal the actual date. The next event will happen without warning and be done before the mind can even comprehend what is happening. The Bible tells us the end of the world is over 1,007 years away at the very least.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 25, 2016

Violence! Peace? Violence!

Peace in the Midst of Violence, is that even Possible?

Does it seem to you that violence is on the increase? It seems to be getting harder and harder to avoid excessive exposure to reports of violence today; everyday brings new accounts of violence being inflicted on one person by another and it just seems to be getting worse! Even if we keep in mind the overexposure to news which results from the technological wonders of modern communication along with the media’s propensity to feature blood and gore it still appears that the number of stories is on the increase.

Although I’m only a casual student of history I am a student of the Bible and that alone will show the reader that violence is not a new phenomenon. It would appear our poor troubled world has known too much violence from the beginning and shows no signs of changing for the better. The Bible, of course, explains why that is happening and promises us that this era has both a starting and a stopping point already determined by God; I suspect that many of us look forward to the stopping point!

Considering the nature of this world what is Jesus talking about when He tells the disciples He will give them His peace? This world has never experienced world-wide peace so what do you think Jesus had in mind? Let’s look at what Jesus said and try to understand His meaning.

Is it Possible to Find Peace in the Midst of Violence?

 In John 14 our Lord is explaining to His disciples that changes will be coming to their lives and how they should view those changes. The promise of the coming of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to live in them forever is revealed in this chapter and later the promise of peace; a special kind of peace the world cannot give will be God’s gift to His children. So if this gift was given, then does this mean you’re enjoying God’s peace while living in such a troubled world? In John 14:27 it is written:

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What is the Lord saying in this verse; this peace is a gift to His children, not a gift to the world. Someday, as the Prince of Peace, Jesus will bring peace to the world but that day is still in the future. The last part of this verse tells us the nature of the peace we have been given; an inner peace which includes an untroubled heart and a freedom from fear.

I think we can all agree an untroubled heart and a freedom from fear would have great value in today’s troubled world. During these “Times of the Gentiles” there will not be world peace; world peace will only come when the Prince of Peace returns and takes control of world affairs, not before. By the time that happens we will have already been removed from this world by the power of God.

Peace Through Tribulation and Trouble, not Peace from Tribulation and Trouble!

Although there may be moments of relative peace in our circumstances there is no guarantee these moments will not pass. As I wrote in God Has the Answer to Your Biggest Problem:

“Problems are a way of life as we live our lives on this troubled world. We’ve all heard the old saying which goes something like this, “You’re either in the middle of a problem, just emerging from a problem, or getting ready to encounter a problem in your life.” The longer we live the more readily we can see the truth of that statement.”

What we must recognize is nothing that happens to us catches God by surprise; He has known from eternity past exactly what would happen any specific day at any specific time! The challenge we face, as God’s children, is the nature of our response; will we respond by faith and honor God or by sight and dishonor God, that is the question.

The response of sight to tribulation and trouble will be anxiety and fear, we demonstrate by our sight reaction a lack of faith in God; in God’s ability and willingness to provide for us and care for us as a loving father should.

Responding by Faith

The response of faith demonstrates our trust in God and His provisions for us in every situation; this is the response of Romans 8:28-30 where we are told:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

If we know that God is working all things together for our good and is working all things according to His will then how can we worry and complain? This is a vital part of living a life of faith and must be learned as the Christian grows in their faith. It is only as we learn this lesson by faith that we can join with Paul when he writes:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

Learning the Secret

Let us set for ourselves the goal of learning “the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

In the meantime let us join with Paul in his determination to:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

May the God of Peace be with You!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 18, 2016

“Are you a white man or a black man?”

“I am sorry about this question but I truly want to know you.”

Both the title and the headline are copied directly from a letter I received from a precious Christian brother in Nigeria which I answered from a Christian perspective. The overall tone of the letter was gracious and loving but it was the very first time I have been asked that question out of many thousands of letters I have received during my years as an online missionary for Global Media Outreach. That question and comment triggered a line of thought and meditation which has resulted in this essay.

It seems race is becoming an ever greater point of consideration, contention or even confrontation on the world scene; reports on the recent killings in Dallas reference a black shooter who said he, “wanted to kill white people.” The truly sad fact of the matter is despite the intensity of focus by the protesters and the media, race is of no importance at all with regard to spiritual matters of eternal significance.

There are Only Two Distinct Classes of People!

The entire population of the world is made up of only two classes of people; those spiritually alive and those spiritually dead! The second birth is the exclusive distinction that makes a deep and eternal difference in the lives of all people and there is no visible difference between the spiritually dead and the spiritually alive; race is truly irrelevant!

There are many different races of people in each group, the living and the dead, but their racial differences are of absolutely no consequence when it comes to their being spiritually alive or spiritually dead. The point of differentiation comes with the matter of the new birth; it is only by being born again by the power of God, the Holy Spirit that one moves from the dead to the living. People of any race can make the transition from death to life by personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Satanic Deception

Why then is the real issue of spiritual life and death so widely ignored? How is it that relatively inconsequential issues dominate the media and the minds of mankind? There is one obvious explanation for this, we are living on Satan’s world and Satan is the prince of the power of the air.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:1-3

“9 This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.” Revelation 12:9

The children of wrath, the sons of disobedience, are deceiving and being deceived by the influences of Satan and Satan’s world; the truth that could set them free is being obscured by multiple fantasies of Satanic deception! Racial conflict at any level is playing right into Satanic deception by obscuring the issue of the second birth!

A Spiritual Battlefield

I have written extensively on the subject of the spiritual war and the search facility in the upper right-hand corner of this website will produce many examples. I have noted the very existence of a spiritual war is often ignored by the organized church and many Christians have no knowledge that such a war is even in progress much less understanding they are a soldier in that war. This continues to be a dangerous omission for the Christian community.

One of the major factors in this war for men’s souls is the world-wide ministry of God, the Holy Spirit. In John 16: 7-11 we are told of the Holy Spirit’s ministry to the world:

“7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.”

I draw your attention once more to verse 9, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” Why is that the world’s sin? Because all other sins were paid for in full by Christ’s death on the cross.

When Christ said, “It is finished!” He really meant it! This is why the focus of the Satanic attack is to divert attention elsewhere; deception and distraction to keep the world’s attention on anything and everything but the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ and the critical importance of being born again! Sadly the organized church is falling into Satan’s trap and letting inconsequential issues take center stage while overlooking the critical preeminence of the second birth.

Whereas the ultimate victory has been won by Christ’s death on the cross, the battle is still raging and the Satanic forces of evil are still causing damage and destruction using many deceptions including racial conflict. Many thousands are, however, being turned from death to life by the power of God, the Holy Spirit but the warfare is still raging all around us.

A Strategic Withdrawal

At a time known only to God the true church, the body of Christ, will be removed from the Earth along with the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit; at that terrifying time Satan and sin will begin to have it’s way in a manner unprecedented on the Earth. Later, a covenant will be signed by Israel with the Antichrist and this event will start the last seven years God promised to Israel, a time known as the Tribulation. The time of the church’s strategic withdrawal may be near, only God knows the date He has planned for that event from eternity past.

In view of the staggeringly major events God has ordained for what I believe is the near future, let those of us who long for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ turn our backs on any form of Satanic distraction including racial division or conflict and keep our eyes and attention on what really matters. The mission of the church is to bring people to Christ by the new birth and help them as they grow towards Christian maturity. Let us join with the Holy Spirit in this epic battle to complete the body of Christ.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 11, 2016

Full Disclosure, the Truth Revealed!

What has God been Doing?

Last time we considered the great blessing bestowed on all born again Christians, the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. God, in His grace and mercy, had given His adopted children a fast rolling start on the process of conformity to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This amazing change had started with the incarnation of God, the Son, and was continued at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit indwelt Christians joining the Creator with the creation in an eternal, unbreakable bond.

At the initial time of creation described in Genesis, God created the first Adam by molding his body from the dust of the ground and breathing into him life in the image of God. The first Adam disobeyed a direct command of God which resulted in the immediate spiritual death of the first Adam and all present and future generations of man, and later their physical deaths.

A New Beginning

God determined that there would be a second Adam but this time it would be handled differently. Instead of simply breathing the image of God into the second Adam God would personally indwell the second Adam! At the appointed time, God the Son indwelt a human body created by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb and a totally new creation came into existence.

The success of this plan would depend on the faithfulness of God and not the faithfulness of man. Whereas the first Adam had failed when he disobeyed God’s command, the second Adam would succeed because he would exercise the righteousness of God and would perfectly obey even to the point of death!

Out of the death of the second Adam would come a new creation, a new race of man indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit, who, by means of a new birth, would then indwell them forever! A clear understanding of this gives important insight into what the Lord said to His disciples in John 16:7 when He told them:

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

At Pentecost not only did the Holy Spirit come to them, He came into them to remain forever with them as the down payment on the blessings to come!

What is God going to do?

The First Advent is now history and the world awaits the return of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! This time the glory of the deity of Christ will be revealed and all will see Him as He really is, the eternal creator and God of heaven and earth. In addition, all who have been joined to God’s family by faith will rejoice in “the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us.”

19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:19-21

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

Blessings to Come!

The Bible reveals very little about the world to come, much less than some of us might like but we can have total confidence that it will far exceed our deepest hopes and dreams; after all we are creations of the designer and He knows us perfectly!

The last two chapters of Revelation give us a few clues as to what we can expect; I’m particularly fond of these verses:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:1-7″

As a Christian you have been richly blessed beyond your ability to even imagine! There are wondrously amazing adventures ahead! We can surely join with all of creation as we wait with eager hope and perseverance for that wonderful day when we shall all enjoy glorious freedom from death and decay!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 5, 2016

You, as a Born Again Christian, have been Transformed, concluded

God’s Relentless Determination

Last time we considered the impact of the new birth, the transformation that is taking place in all who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; God, the Holy Spirit, is joining with all who are born again in an eternal union. God is truly conforming His adopted children to the image of His Son!

In my essay on “Freedom in Christ, a Work in Progress” I wrote: “God is relentless in His determination that you be conformed to the image of His Son and will do what it takes to speed you on your journey.” Considering how the Doctrine of Kenosis has a direct application to each of us we should all be able to enthusiastically agree that our journey toward conformity to Christ is well underway!

This is why Paul can write with such enthusiasm in Romans 8:18-25:

“18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

Just One, Not so Small, Problem

Although it pleased God that the Holy Spirit would indwell born again Christians; God, in His infinite wisdom, determined that the fallen nature of Adam would also remain but severely limited by crucifixion. Our old sin nature would still be with us but restrained by the fact it has been reckoned to have been crucified with Christ at the point of our new birth. There would be the opportunity to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, or live a fleshly life of sin controlled by the sin nature. Christians can live either way whereas those not born again can only live under the power of their sin nature. Paul speaks to this in Galatians 5:13-26 and shows the contrast between the two alternatives.

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

The solution to this quandary is given in 1 John 1:8-10 where it is written:

” 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

Confession of sin to God restores the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and makes possible a Spirit led life filled with the fruit of the Spirit!

While Christians have been blessed in their progress toward conformity with Christ, there remains a tormentor who is constantly seeking dominance in the Christian’s life, the sin nature. A tormentor who, in allegiance with the dark forces of this world, seeks to cripple and disable the Christian as a soldier of the Lord in the spiritual battle which continues to rage over the entire world. I have written on this in the four part series: “The Traitor Within.”

As Christians we must avail ourselves of the defenses God has provided and “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

Next time, full disclosure!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 27, 2016

You, as a Born Again Christian, have been Transformed!

A New Beginning!

Last time we considered the wonder of the incarnation of the Son of God; the eternal creator, the second person of the Trinity, who became joined with a human body forever at the First Advent becoming the Second Adam. We now had  been given a Kinsman/Redeemer who was qualified to redeem mankind from the penalty of sin incurred when the first Adam disobeyed God.

A wondrous change had taken place where the creator joined with the creation in a union described as the “Doctrine of Kenosis.” At no time before in the history of creation had such a thing happened but that was just the beginning of all that God had planned!

In my essay “But What about your Crucifixion” I wrote: “Christianity is not primarily about what you do, it’s all about what was done to you; God’s relationship to mankind focuses on two men, Adam and Christ; in Adam you died, in Christ you can live.”

Something has been done, You have been Transformed!

When you were born again by faith in the Second Adam you were indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit, and transformed for all of time and eternity at a spiritual level; while none of this change was visible to the human eye it is eternal in consequences! The Lord Jesus Christ appeared as an ordinary man to those who saw him; his deity was hidden from view. With one brief exception the concealment of the divine would be continued in the Church Age; in Acts 2:1-4 we read:

“2 On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”

After this momentary display of divine power, those indwelt by the Holy Spirit resumed a completely normal appearance. One more time an exceptional occurrence was to take place and that is described in Act 10:44-48 where it is written:

“44 Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. 45 The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.”

While there is no reference to tongues of fire appearing on the Gentiles, God’s message was clear, the New Covenant was to be made with both Gentiles and Jews and so it has continued throughout this age of grace, the Church Age.

The New Descendants of the Second Adam!

I continue to marvel over the magnificence of the change that took place; God, the Holy Spirit, making His home in each new believer who receives Christ as personal Savior! The presence of the divine in each Christian was  to be concealed just as it was concealed in Christ. There was to be no visible evidence of this astounding change which created a new type of human being for which there had been only one previous example, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Born again Christians were being conformed to Christ, the “Second Adam,” in a most phenomenal way; they “possessed a full undiminished human nature and a full undiminished divine nature, which were not combined or confused into some new nature but were added to each other forever (yet remaining distinct) in the one person.” That, brother or sister in Christ, is a description of you!

Next time, more on God’s relentless determination and a not so small problem.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 20, 2016

The Concealment of Christ!

What Does the Bible Teach About the Concealment of Christ?

I can hear someone asking, what is David talking about, “the concealment of Christ?” How is Christ concealed anyway, doesn’t the New Testament reveal the person and work of Christ including his earthly ministry, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension? To that I would reply, yes, but only after He was concealed.

Then someone reply’s “OK, David, now you’re talking in circles; would you please explain what you’re talking about” and I would say, Thank you, I thought no one would ever ask. Let’s devote some thought to the concealment of Christ, theologically referred to as the “Doctrine of Kenosis.”

If we look in Philippians 2:6-11 we read:

“6 Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

(The English word nothing, in verse 7, is a translation of the Greek word, ἐκένωσεν which is defined as to empty, make empty. Our Lord’s deity was completely shielded so in appearance he seemed to be an ordinary human man.)

When Jesus was conceived by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, a unique event in the history of mankind took place; the divine and the human existed side by side in one person. This union of God and man resulted in a new creation, the baby Jesus, who “possessed a full undiminished human nature and a full undiminished divine nature, which were not combined or confused into some new nature but were added to each other forever (yet remaining distinct) in the one person Jesus Christ.”  www.theopedia.com/kenosis.

There was one important difference that sets Christ apart as a human being; He did not have a human father and was therefore free of Adam’s curse, the fallen sin nature! The first Adam did not have a human father nor did the second Adam have a human father! I love the poetry and balance of that thought! Paul writes of this in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 where it is written:

“45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.”But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.”

All of us who have been born of human fathers have been born with that sin-cursed fallen sin nature we inherited from Adam and will have to deal with it as long as we occupy these mortal bodies! This has been addressed in the two-part series; God Has the Answer to Your Biggest Problem

The Divine Glory of Christ is Concealed

To all appearances the baby in the manger was visibly similar to other babies born in Israel; there was nothing about the baby’s looks to set this baby apart from the others being born around that time. Events were taking place that said there was something special about this baby but not in the baby’s appearance; the deity in that tiny body was carefully concealed from view although present and fully functional. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ was sustaining the universe from that tiny baby body in the manger and let me quickly add I have no way of comprehending what I’ve just written, it is totally a matter of faith!

With one exception, the “Mount of Transfiguration” the Lord did not reveal the divine essence which was concealed in His mortal body. To those who saw Him he was Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary and Joseph; in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy He appeared as the suffering servant, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, our Kinsman/redeemer.

Even after His resurrection our Lord appeared as nothing more than a normal man; he attracted no special attention as He walked along the road to Emmaus with the two disciples. The concealment of Jesus Christ was completed with care and precision; even the younger children of Mary and Joseph did not understand who was living in their midst. This is also a remarkable tribute to Mary and Joseph who were in full possession of the facts surrounding His amazing birth. The secret was carefully guarded by all who knew.

Next time we will look at the mystery of the indwelling Holy Spirit as he is forever joined with all who receive Christ as Savior.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 13, 2016

Freedom in Christ, a Work in Progress

God is not Finished with You Yet!

Previously we examined Romans 8:26-30, which explains God’s purpose for leaving you on this earth; you are a work in progress, God is using circumstances to conform you to the image of His Son. I’ve heard the comparison made with a sculptors chisel; the hammer comes down and the chisel cuts away the part of you that doesn’t look like Jesus.

I have often thought on the quotation by Corrie ten Boom when she refers to things and circumstances:

“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
Corrie ten Boom

As Christians we can imagine ourselves with our arms outstretched, hands open, in a gesture of willing submission to God’s will for our lives!

A Relentless Sculptor

God is relentless in His determination that you be conformed to the image of His Son and will do what it takes to speed you on your journey. The process may, on occasion, be painful but God is working it all together for your good. Let us all join with Christ when He prayed:

“He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39

None of us will ever be called on to suffer the agony that Christ suffered on our behalf but we can wholeheartedly join with Christ in seeking the Father’s perfect will for our lives! God’s perfect will for our lives will ultimately result in our glorification which is described in Ephesians 2:6-7.

“6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

What Should your Attitude be Toward all these things?

In the following verses Paul asks and answers several questions:

“31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” “33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

These thoughts penetrate to the deepest levels of our spiritual reality; these are truths that are more real and longer lasting than the bodies we occupy and the lives we live on this soon to be destroyed world. This is the level of spiritual reflection that should mold our perceptions of self and the universe of which we are temporarily a part.

More than Conquerors!

There is, however, really good news; although on occasion we have failed God, God has never failed us. Our place in God’s family has always been secured by God’s faithfulness to us, not our faithfulness to God! The following verses clearly demonstrate the supremacy of God’s grace over human frailty.

“37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

From God’s timeless perspective you are already raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly realms; your eternal destiny is assured by the shed blood of Christ and nothing will ever change that. Now, ask yourself again what your attitude should be toward that eternal certainty? You are God’s child and He loves you and wants the very best for you during your time of conformation on this earth.

Although our lives will be a time of testing as the Father conforms us to the image of His Son, they can and should be a time of rejoicing. Thinking again of Corrie ten Boom I’m reminded of her quote:

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
Corrie ten Boom

Let us all follow Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:4-9:

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Look at God, be at Rest and Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 6, 2016

Freedom in Christ, a Life Filled with Peace and Rejoicing!

Your Life, a Radiant Beacon of Joy and Peace to a Troubled World! 

Last week we examined God’s provision for His children in giving us His Holy Spirit to live in us forever. We saw that the world was waiting for God to reveal His glory though those who have been adopted into His family. Now we will look at the methods God is using to bring that about.

God does in fact have a perfect plan for your life, a plan that includes a life of joy and rejoicing in Him; a life that serves as a model of love and joy to a world that is suffering. I think you would agree with me that a life like that would be a life worth living; this is the kind of life the Lord wants for you and all of His children!

This kind of life is not an impossible dream, a life reserved for the very few who have been chosen by God for a perfect life; the fact of the matter is this life should be the normal Christian life and the good news is this life is possible for you. God has most assuredly gone above and beyond all that should be expected to make this possible; even to the point of coming into you and making your sin cursed body His home on earth!

We should focus our minds on that thought and let the enormous reality of what God has done for us permeate our thinking! When is the last time you praised and thanked God for making you a part of the body of Christ as well as a temple of God, the Holy Spirit?

You Have God as a Prayer Partner!

In a further demonstration of His loving concern for you as His child, the Holy Spirit has not only joined you by baptism into the body of Christ, the church, made your sin cursed body His home on earth, but also diligently prays for you to God, the Father. In verses 26-27 we read:

“26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

When is the last time you thanked the Father for His gift to you of the Holy Spirit as a prayer partner; have you ever thanked the Father for this gift? God, the Holy Spirit praying for you personally; don’t you think that’s a pretty big thing? Don’t be an ungrateful child!

What do you Know about Your Circumstances?

As an online missionary for Global Media Outreach I spend many hours every day working with people all over the world. The vast majority of the correspondence I get focuses on complaints about circumstances; people are unhappy, even miserable because of their circumstances. I do get a few letters from Christians who seem to be happy with their circumstances but far fewer from Christians who are thankful to the Lord for their circumstances.

Does the Bible have a message for Christians concerning circumstances? I think we can all agree it does; in many places. A few that immediately come to my mind are:

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11

17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

I’m sure each of you could add to that short list but let us turn our attention to the next section in Romans 8 where it is written in verses 28-30:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

 Do you believe those verses; do you really believe that God is working all things in your life for good? If you believe God then what is there to complain about? Notice those verses do not say that everything will be good, only that those things are working together for good. No one would say Christ’s crucifixion was good, but it did produce salvation for all who believe; the cross was agonizing pain for the Lord but it resulted in the salvation of many.

Next time we will consider the consequences of all God has done.

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