Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | January 14, 2019

The “Bird Box” Challenge

https://www.netflix.com/title/80196789 ©

A New Netflix Cable Movie has Captured the Attention of Many!

As a Netflix subscriber, I was informed of this new cable movie so when it became available, I watched it on TV. It was interesting in its originality as this particular story-line had not previously surfaced in my experience; I enjoy science fiction so this was rather consistent with my normal viewing habits.

In the story, the world is suddenly engulfed by a strange phenomenon that causes people outside who see something, that is invisible to others, to respond in a dangerously self-destructive manner including suicide. The only defense seems to be avoiding seeing this invisible force, when outside, by the use of blindfolds.

The story follows a character named Malorie, played by Sandra Bullock, who is trying to escape danger with two young children by traveling to a place of refuge. The challenge is the necessity of traveling blindfolded; all three of them must remain blindfolded when they are outside. Needless to say, this produces some very dangerous moments as they must travel by car, foot, and boat to the promised safe haven.

I have mentioned before that everything in my life will have theological ramifications and applications and this movie was no exception to the rule. As I watched it, I started to see the relationship the movie had to real life, the lives each of us live today. I started to see parallels that could apply to the Christian life in a world ruled by Satan and the Satanic world system that has been established. I have written more on this in “The Painted Veil That Hides Reality” and “What is Reality?”

The Response to the Movie, “The Bird Box Challenge”

Recentlly I saw a report on the news of a wreck caused by a teen-aged girl who was trying to duplicate driving a car without seeing the outside; previously I have heard and seen reports of others who were trying to perform routine daily tasks blindfolded. A quick search will produce many stories of people trying to duplicate the “Bird Box” blindfold experience. For some reason this movie has captured the imagination of many.

Whereas I have no interest in blindfolding myself I have a deep interest in the spiritual parallels I see between the movie and the individual lives each of us must live.

As Christians, we are visitors who live in a world that is not our home; we are faced with a lifestyle that is alien and inhospitable to the principles we embrace and, on top of everything else, we are immersed in forces of evil that would entice us to abandon the principles we hold dear.

Fortunately, our citizenship in our world is non-negotiable, it is sustained by the power of our omnipotent creator and not by the weakness of our will. While we can seriously compromise our experience in this life, we cannot compromise our position as citizens of our world; it has been secured by the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ!

The Bird Box Challenge for Christians

The Bible makes it clear, we are to live our lives based on believing and not on seeing. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 it is written: For we live by believing and not by seeing.” While this does not mean we need to live with blindfolds on it does mean we must be highly selective before we let the world convince us of anything; buying into the message of the world can only lead to danger if one is not careful.

The Bible provides us guidance in that regard; in Philippians 4:4-9 we are given most excellent advice:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

Meeting Your Challenge

We are all challenged by the age-old trio; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Eve fell victim to this trio and it has worked successfully ever since. In Genesis 3:6 it is written:

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.

You will be tempted by the same trio but by God’s grace you will not yield to the temptation; the secret is to follow God’s advice to you and “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | January 4, 2019

My New Year’s Resolution for 2019 and Beyond

I have not made a New Year’s Resolution for a very long time!

A New Year’s Resolution is a promise to yourself and like promises and pie crusts, they are easily made and easily broken, to paraphrase Jonathan Swift. This year will be different, I promise!

I have thought about this for several days now, and have decided to make a “commitment” to my 2019 New Year’s Resolution to really put it into practice every day for not just 2019, but for the rest of my life; it’s that important to me!

What I desire is to start every day with one thought and let that thought lay a foundation for, and shape the balance of the day; I can summarize that thought in these words;

I am a created being who exists by and for the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is my heartfelt desire to let this thought serve as the premise on which I build my life as long as I shall live (which just happens to be forever)!

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together. Colossians 1:15-17

These verses in Colossians are my delight and my joy; I exult in the thought of them!

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 28, 2018

A New Year, a New Opportunity

Tuesday is January 1, 2019 and a New Year stretches out before us!

Saying 2019 seems strange but not so strange as saying 2020, 2020 is the distant future when spaceships will travel between distant planets and all sorts of technological wonders will be commonplace; at least that was the theme when I was a boy and enjoyed reading science fiction.

I discovered Science Fiction when I was a young boy during World War ll, collecting waste paper for the war effort. Our scout troop would collect waste paper door-to-door and occasionally I would come across a discarded Science Fiction pulp magazine whose lurid covers of spaceships and monsters triggered my imagination so I started collecting them. (My wife reminds me that when we got married all of my worldly possessions consisted of  a small bag of clothes and a stack of Science Fiction pulp magazines.)

They were all about the strange world we would experience in the distant future, say 2019 or 2020 for example; remember this was in the 1942 era and 2019/2020 was an unbelievably long time away; there was no telling what might happen by that time. Think, for example, about the world in 2100; what kind of world will there be in that distant future time? The fact is some of the people you know, should the Lord tarry, will be living in 2100 and that is kind of sobering, don’t you agree?

1984

That is the situation we faced in 1949, when I was 16; on June 8th, George Orwell published a Science Fiction book, named, “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” In this book, the author describes a future dystopian world where no one is free of intense supervision and control. The book created quite a stir when it came out and was the focus of much discussion by Science Fiction fans.

Fortunately, 1984 came and passed into history without the terrible things described in the book becoming the norm for most people. The book is frequently referenced as contemporary events mirror, to some degree, the events described in the book.

The word, “Orwellian” has passed into the English language as a word to describe totalitarianism; a typical dictionary definition might be as follows:

Or·well·i·an (ôr-wĕlēən)

adj.Of, relating to, or evocative of the works of George Orwell, especially the satirical novel 1984, which depicts a futuristic totalitarian state.

 

By God’s grace, we have not experienced the world of 1984 but many observers believe we are slowly moving in that direction. I suspect the world of the Antichrist will have many of the characteristics of that world.

The Age of Grace is Extended Once Again

Before Christmas I wrote “Rejoice in the Advantages You’ve Been Given” and covered several of the special privileges we have living in this age of grace. Only God knows when this age will end but end it will in an extraordinarily dramatic way, the Rapture of the Church. Whether it will end in 2019 or many years later is in the hands of Almighty God.

As Christians we are blessed with the opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to help those who have been born again to grow in their faith and knowledge of the Lord. There is only one message that is truly suitable and appropriate for this age of grace and that is:

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!

There is only one sin that will keep the unbeliever out of heaven and that is rejection of Christ as Savior; I have written more on that in “Is There One Unforgivable Sin?” 

I encourage you to avail yourselves of the opportunity we have been given to rejoice in the Lord and serve as a witness to his glory, majesty, and honor.

May your New Year be filled with joy in the Lord and the peace which passes understanding!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 21, 2018

Christmas, When the Word was Made Flesh

The Happiest Season of the Year

Although no one really knows exactly when Christ, the Messiah, was born, Christian’s traditionally celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ on December 25th of each year. Contemporary scholarship seems to lean toward a winter birth in either December or January of the winter of 5/4 BC, The events described by the authors of the Gospels which were taking place at the time of the Lord’s birth would suggest such an approximate date for the First Advent of our Lord.

While we do not know, with any degree of certainty, when the Lord was born, we can know with absolute certainty that he was, in fact, born and that alone is a sufficient reason for rejoicing.

The enormous significance of the First Advent of our Lord may sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season and the sometimes-frantic preparations that seem to be an inevitable part of the days before Christmas. We have even witnessed an effort on the part of some to remove Christ and Christmas from the winter “Holiday Season” and to secularize the season so as not to offend those who prefer to reject the message of Christ and Christmas; fortunately, that trend is losing ground.

For those of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ, this season is a beautiful reminder of our Lord and the wonder of His birth.

Four Hundred Years of Silence

The voice of God through His prophets had become silent; for 400 years Israel did not receive any word from God through the prophets. Much had happened that was instrumental in setting the stage for the events that would transpire during the First Advent but there was no word from the Lord; just silence for 400 years.

God was planning on breaking that silence in the most dramatic way possible; God the Son, the living Word, would be born of a virgin by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, and become flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. The silence would finally be broken by the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord; the spoken word would be replaced by the living Word of God who would be made flesh and dwell among us. We would have a Kinsman/Redeemer, a Savior who would take our place of judgment and die on the cross for the redemption of our sins.

The Birth of the King

It is fascinating to me to reflect on the decisions God made as to the birth of the Son of God. The eternal creator of the universe was not to be born in a palace or even a major city of the time; but was to be born of humble parentage in a small insignificant village named Bethlehem. Although both were descended from King David by two different lines of descent, Mary through David’s son Nathan, and Joseph through David’s son Solomon, any association with royalty had faded generations before. His mother, Mary, was a peasant girl and the young man who was to become her husband, Joseph, was a simple carpenter; hardly a likely couple to become the caregivers for the humanity of the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

All proceeded according to God’s eternal plan and the precious baby was entrusted to humans to care for and love as He grew in stature and wisdom over the early years of his life.

The Shepherds

The Bible describes two events surrounding the birth and early childhood of our Lord. The first had to do with the angelic host appearing to the shepherds. I have read that these particular shepherds and the sheep of their flock were very special; these were the sheep destined for temple sacrifice. How fitting that the announcement of the birth of the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world, should be made to shepherds tending the sheep to be sacrificed on the Temple altar.

The Magi

The second event concerns the arrival of the magi whose number is not specified in Scripture. I have previously written on the magi and the mysterious star they followed and have some strongly held opinions concerning both. The account of the magi is only given in Matthew 2:1-12, and the implications are the magi appeared around two years after the birth of Jesus. I believe these particular magi were of a group founded by the prophet Daniel, and the gifts presented by the magi were placed with that group originally by Daniel himself.

Daniel had prophesied the very day our Lord would enter Jerusalem as the Lamb of God and I believe he instructed the magi to pay particular attention as that time drew closer. I believe the star was, in fact, the Shekinah Glory of God and led the magi to the place where Jesus was living. While none of this is specified in Scripture, it would explain a lot.

Christmas Today

While admittedly under attack, Christmas is still a powerful factor in the lives of many. I think we can all agree that the mood becomes a bit more joyous and happy around Christmas especially in the Christian community. The traditions of Christmas are always welcome and bring remembrances of Christmas past and the fun and fellowship of family and friends. The traditional Christmas hymns are a great blessing and tell the story of our Lord’s birth with beauty and simplicity.

Christmas is a happy time and I’m thankful it is here again!

Merry Christmas and a Blessed, Happy New Year

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 17, 2018

Rejoice in the Advantages You’ve Been Given!

Christians are Richly Blessed by the Simple Fact of Living in this Age of Grace

All of us living today have been given an amazing gift; the opportunity to become a part of God’s eternal family by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving as the blessings offered to those who receive Christ as Savior have eternal benefits that are glorious beyond description.

While Christians are the beneficiaries of God’s amazing grace, there is a complication; we must live out our physical lives on a spiritual battlefield in complete dependence on the blessings we have received. I have written more on this in “To the Soldiers in the Spiritual War.”

One Objective

All of us are challenged by the obstacles we face in seeing ourselves and our life on earth from a Biblical perspective. We live out our lives on a spiritual battlefield, surrounded by a Satanic world system which demands our attention and seeks to convince us the physical here and now is all we’ll ever have and once it’s gone it’s all over. From the beginning mankind has been fatally tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil and nothing about that has changed since the Garden of Eden.

To me, it is ironic the only visible part of each of us is the part of us that was not redeemed at the point of salvation. Our spiritual selves, the part of us made in the image of God, has been restored by the new birth; our bodies, of this earth, our tents, which still fall under the Adamic curse, are dying, can have no part in our heavenly future and must be totally replaced.

The Real Story of You

It is only in the Bible we find the truth about who we are and what is going on, a still small voice whispering in our minds in the midst of the thunder and roar of contemporary society; our convictions about reality can only come by faith!

It is easy to overlook Paul’s admonition concerning life; “For we live by believing and not by seeing. 2 Corinthians 5:7 Does that perspective characterize your life too?

The last five essays on the reality of you have had only one underlying objective and that is to focus your attention on the real story of you! You were created in the image of God and are primarily a spirit being confined, for the moment, to a physical body of the earth. There is only one way for you to leave your mortal body and that is by the death of that body, or, in the case of the terminal generation, the transformation of that body by the power of God at the time of the Rapture.

God, the Holy Spirit was joined with your spirit, at the time you were born again into your divine, eternal family, to serve as a down payment on your future inheritance and will never, ever leave you. The Bible tells us it was not intended that we should exist as spirits without bodies and that a heavenly body will be prepared for us that will be suitable for our heavenly, eternal existence.

Christians are Special to God

By God’s undeserved and unearned grace, Christians have been granted special privileges in God’s eternity. Salvation has always been through the work of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament, saints were saved as they looked ahead to the promise of the Messiah; by faith their spirits were restored to life as witnessed by the eloquent testimony of Job in Job 19:25-27 where it is written:

25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and he will stand upon the earth at last.
26 And after my body has decayed,
    yet in my body I will see God!
27 I will see him for myself.
    Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
    I am overwhelmed at the thought!”

If that thought doesn’t overwhelm you too then you’re not letting its full significance penetrate to the depths of your being! Christians are saved as they look back to the finished work of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, at his First Advent just as Job was saved by looking ahead to it even though he had fewer details.

The Christian Advantage

There are additional elements, enjoyed by Christians when they are born again, that were missing from the salvation Old Testament saints received, the Old Testament saints were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit nor were they baptized into the body of Christ. While the Old Testament saints could be blessed with the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the Holy Spirit could be removed from them for disobedience.

Christians, on the other hand, are eternally indwelt by the Holy Spirit and joined, by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, into the body of Christ. This is a great gift, unique to those who are made a part of Christ’s true church, and will stop when the church is completed and removed from the earth at the Rapture.

A Magnificent Blessing that will Never End

As Christians, living in this age of grace, we are blessed beyond our ability to even imagine. The opportunity given to mankind during this age has implications and repercussions that will last eternally; this door of opportunity is open to all who will receive the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.

As this time of remembrance approaches let us joyfully proclaim the wondrous grace of the Lord Jesus Christ who has made all this possible.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 12, 2018

Your Spiritual Resurrection

You Have Been Spiritually Resurrected!

You may have never thought of yourself in those terms but let us consider the facts as presented in the Bible and also review a definition of the word, “resurrection.” A typical dictionary definition might read something like the following:

“resurrection

    1. a rising from the dead, or coming back to life
    2. the state of having risen from the dead
  1. a coming back into notice, practice, use, etc.; revival, as of old customs”

The focus of the Bible is on the physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ at the time of his First Advent which is followed, in order, by the still future physical resurrection of the saints of the church, and later Israel.

Paul speaks to the question of the earthly body versus the heavenly body in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 where it is written:

“5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

Your Resurrection Experience, Past and Future

While our spiritual resurrection is an individual experience associated with our new birth, our physical resurrection will be a group event held in three stages; the first stage was Christ at his First Advent, the second stage will be the church, at the Rapture, and the third stage will be Israel at the Lord’s return at the end of the Tribulation. There will be a fourth resurrection of the damned at the end of the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ but their destination will be the Lake of Fire.

As pointed out in the definition it is “a rising from the dead, or coming back to life.” In the last essay I covered the nature of your death in Adam and pointed out the unique roll the Holy Spirit played in bringing you back to life. Just as the Holy Spirit was instrumental in the First Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is equally important in the new birth of ever believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and God. An additional fact is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit into each believer who is born again. ; this represents a departure unique to the Church Age.

An Interesting Parallel

In the last essay we considered the sequence of the spiritual versus the physical death of Adam and saw that hundreds of years passed between the two events. For us, as Adam’s descendants, our options require that we experience the new birth and become spiritually alive before we die physically if we are to experience the new birth at all.

Always be mindful that our spiritual selves are created in the image of God, while our mortal bodies are of the dust of the Earth and simply cannot share in the glory to come. When we are born again, by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, our dead spirits are brought back to life; by definition we have been spiritually resurrected from the dead and eternally restored to life; for Christians, there is no second death!

Adam died spiritually in the Garden of Eden but did not die physically for several hundred years; we, on the other hand, are spiritually resurrected at the time of our salvation but will only experience a physical resurrection at a time, chosen by God, when saints will be resurrected physically in the order mentioned above.

Our mortal bodies will have returned to the dust of the earth, or in the case of the last generation, be transformed by the power of God into eternal heavenly bodies. Our experience tracks Adams experience, the spiritual first and the physical second.

We will conclude these observations on the real you in the next essay.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 10, 2018

You Were Dead on Arrival

Do You Realize You Were Born Dead?

From a rational human perspective that statement sounds harsh and doesn’t make a bit of sense but from a Biblical perspective it makes perfect sense; you were born spiritually dead.

When we think of death, we automatically apply that to something that once had life; while we can think of a dead flower no one would refer to a rock as dead as the rock never had any life.

For me to suggest you were born spiritually dead would require that you once had spiritual life and lost it. If you were spiritually dead at birth, then when could you have possibly had a living spirit that died? That is a fair question to which the Bible provides an answer. In Romans 5:12 it is written:

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

I have written more on the subject of sin in a series which begins with “A Flood of Confusion“.

You Died Spiritually in the Garden of Eden

God commanded Adam in Genesis 2:15-17 it is written:

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

If you are told by your creator “you will certainly die” I believe you can count on the certainty of that warning. The fact is that at the moment Adam disobeyed God both he and Eve instantly died spiritually. Hundreds of years were to pass before they died physically but the really serious damage had already been done. I have written more on that in “The Fall.”

From God’s perspective, you died spiritually in Adam when he disobeyed a direct command. You were counted as being spiritually alive up until that time and then, when Adam disobeyed God, Adam and the entire balance of humanity died spiritually there in the Garden of Eden.

Physically Adam was to live several hundred more years before his mortal body died but Adam had died, spiritually, and from that point on all who were descendants of Adam were born spiritually dead. There was to be a clear distinction between physical and spiritual life and death.

Let us review the facts; you were counted as being spiritually alive in Adam in the Garden of Eden but died there when Adam disobeyed God. Much later you were born physically, but still counted as being spiritually dead. Your body had received a sin nature because of Adam’s sin so you were born with a living sin nature, a dead spirit, and a living soul and mortal body.

Two Kinds of Humans

There are now two distinct classes of humanity populating this globe called Earth; those spiritually alive by faith in Jesus Christ and those spiritually dead in Adam. Although we cannot see a difference in the physical appearance between the living and the dead; the difference is there and is of profound significance!

Remember that Adam’s mortal body lived for hundreds of years after Adam had died spiritually so it should be no surprise that God would follow that process for Adam’s descendants including you. The catalyst for that process is the new birth; as Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus, “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3

The New Birth

The new birth initiates a series of spiritual events that have eternal consequences; you will recall it was the power of the Holy Spirit that began the process of the birth of the humanity of Jesus Christ in Mary’s womb. This same Holy Spirit is the instrument of the new birth in the lives of all who receive Christ as Savior. Being born again by God, the Holy Spirit, has both a temporal and eternal significance of incredible power; everything of any lasting value has been transformed by the new birth, everything!

Although I do not recall having seen this thought specifically mentioned in the Bible, it has come to my mind that after we are born again, we are no longer spiritually descended from Adam; we now have a new heavenly Father and have become a true child of God. While our mortal bodies still carry the Adamic curse and are subject to death, our spiritual nature, made in the image of God, has been fully redeemed by faith in the risen Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Next time we will think on your new beginning as a spiritually alive human being.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 7, 2018

December 7, 1941

Photo from “https://sites.google.com/site/mgmartinezx/mgmartinez

“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”

As the years pass there are fewer and fewer of us who can remember where they were and what they were doing when the bombing of Pearl Harbor was announced on the radio; I still remember that Sunday afternoon. I was an eight-year-old boy riding in the backseat of a Chevy, four door sedan, on a Sunday afternoon drive to look for campsites for the Boy Scout Troop my stepfather led. I’m sure that none of us could imagine the impact that attack would have on our country and our lives.

Although, by God’s grace, we were not as profoundly affected as many other countries around the world it would certainly change life as we knew it. Some of the older boys that had been members of the troop would join up and never return; their lives lost on a distant battlefield. My stepfather had concerns about all of the boys that had gone through the troop and especially the boy leaders who had become patrol leaders and later assistant Scoutmasters. There were too many sad moments when we got the news that another former scout had died in the war.

War is Declared

Little time was lost in Washington D. C. in reacting to the attack; Congress was convened and President Roosevelt spoke to both houses.

Address to Congress
Requesting a Declaration of War with Japan
December 8, 1941

“Mr. Vice President, and Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American Island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

But always will our whole Nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces- with the unbounding determination of our people- we will gain the inevitable triumph- so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

Once the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor the United States responded on December 8th with a declaration of war on Japan; because of treaties between Japan, Germany, and Italy that meant we had declared war on all three nations. Below is a copy of the declaration of war on Japan.

Congressional Declaration of War on Japan

“December 8, 1941

JOINT RESOLUTION Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.

Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America:

Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared;
and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.

Approved, December 8, 1941, 4:10 p.m. E.S.T.”

This was a remarkable moment in the history of the United States. The country had been burdened by an economic downturn known as the “Great Depression” which had created many hardships on the American people. In addition, the Central Plains had been ravaged by a drought that was so bad the whole area became known as the dust bowl. Having been raised in Houston, Texas I was indeed fortunate to have experienced little hardship from the depression or the drought.

Fortunately, the drought was beginning to lift by the time the war started and many speculate that the Second World War was the catalyst that brought the United States out of the Great Depression.

A Time for Remembrance

Today is December 7, 2018, let us remember the great price that has been paid that we might continue as a free nation. The old saying, “Freedom is not Free” is as true today as it was on that fateful day in 1941.

Sadly, another form of treachery has once again endangered us, now a second date that will live in infamy has been added to the history of this country and that is 911, September 11, 2001. This is another vivid reminder that our freedoms must be defended or they will be lost.

If we value our nation, it is vital we recognize the changes in tactics that are being employed by those who wish to destroy it; attacks from without and within will continue until we are willing to deal decisively with those wishing its destruction.

Photo from “http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2012/09/liberty-was-attacked-on-911-its-still.html

Next week we’ll continue the series on “Let’s Get Real About Who You Really Are!”

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 3, 2018

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Your Dichotomy of Being, Concluded

We Exist in Two Realities

Last time we considered the two entities of our existence, the spiritual and the carnal; whereas our spiritual part was created in God’s image and breathed into bodies of the earth, our physical bodies were created from the materials of this earth and fashioned by God into temporary abodes we could use while living out our mortal lives.

To further complicate matters, our physical bodies were cursed at the fall of Adam and inhabited by a sin nature while our spirits died in Adam. Although our spirits were restored to life when we were born again by faith in Jesus Christ; our salvation did not remove the fallen sin nature which still plagues us.

We are faced with two distinctly different spheres of being, a redeemed eternal, spirit, created in the image of God, and a condemned body inhabited by a fallen, sin nature. Life presents us with the challenge of reconciling those two diametrically opposed kinds of existence; but by God’s grace we have been given a user manual for figuring it all out and making it work as it should; it is called the Bible, God’s guide to your success as a dichotomous being.

How to Achieve Success as a Dichotomous Being

I think we’ll all agree being a dichotomous person presents its challenges. God knew from eternity past you would face those challenges and has provided all the resources you need to function effectively in your dichotomy. God is, in fact, using those struggles to help conform you to the image of his Son, Jesus. As Christians we have been given a spectacularly precious gift to help us; God, the Holy Spirit has come into us to be our teacher and our guide.

It is only as the Holy Spirit controls in our lives that we have any hope of accomplishing the objectives we have been given by God. While the Holy Spirit will never leave us, it can be quenched by unconfessed sin in our lives. We know our old sin nature was counted as crucified with Christ at the time of our new birth, but we must also acknowledge that the sin nature has been left in us and must be controlled by the confession of sin to God; the verses in 1 John 1:8-10 make that very clear indeed. I have written more on this in “Is There One Unforgivable Sin.”

Our situation is complicated by God’s definition of what constitutes sin; in Romans 14:23b we are told; “everything that is not of faith is sin.” What may appear an innocent thought can be sin if it is not based on our faith in God. I’m almost 86 years old, retired and living at home yet I confess my sins to God many times each day; as a result, I live a life of peace and joy in the power of God, the Holy Spirit; this is God’s gift to all his children who choose obedience to his word.

How are You Doing?

The Bible provides a simple benchmark for success in our lives as Christians; in Galatians 5:13-26 it is written:

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Based on these verses, what percentage of the time do you believe you are living a Spirit controlled life?

Next time we will examine the impact of your spiritual death in more detail.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | November 26, 2018

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Your Dichotomy of Being

You are Primarily a Spiritual Being

You are a descendant of Adam and created in the image of God; you are a spiritual being temporarily housed in a mortal body of this earth. You will inhabit your body of the earth for a few short years and then it will be returned to the earth from where it came.

Your spiritual self, eternal and created in the image of God, will, on the other hand, live forever; there will never be a time when you do not exist in some form, somewhere in God’s creation. God has planned all of this from eternity past and his plan is completely unalterable!

You Were Chosen Before the World was even Created

A marvelous truth about you and all Christians is revealed in Ephesians 1:4-9 where it is written:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Faith, not Understanding

The realities associated with our creator are completely beyond our comprehension; the relationship we experience with our creator is a relationship of faith, not understanding. There is nothing that I truly understand about God; while I love and trust him, I don’t understand him. As my creator he is infinitely above and beyond me and understanding God is not possible for me. Fortunately, God does not expect us to understand him, just to love him and trust him with all our hearts.

I believe it safe to say God knew each of us by name before the universe was even created; he knew his plans for us and had numbered the days of our physical mortality. I delight in Psalms 139:16-17 where it is written:

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!

We should not be surprised when we realize God saw us in Adam in the Garden of Eden; in the mind of God I believe we were a complete certainty in Adam at the time of Adam’s disobedience. We were there, in some manner beyond our understanding, and our spirits died right along with Adam’s and Eve’s. I’ll freely admit I do not understand what I’ve just written, but by faith I believe it to be true.

Let us consider the tragedy that befell the human race when Adam chose to directly disobey God; we all died spiritually alongside Adam in the Garden of Eden.

 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Paramount Pictures, 1931, Starring Fredrick March

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson published a short novel named, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The book focused on the struggle between good and evil that all of us recognize as a part of our life even including the Apostle Paul as he described his frustrations in Romans 7.

Dr. Jekyll wanted to find a way to suppress the evil nature he felt within him and devised a serum which he hoped would work. To his distress, the serum did more to release his evil nature, who was named Mr. Hyde, rather than suppress it; needless to say there was an unhappy outcome to his story.

We too have a similar problem in that we are inhabited by two opposing entities, a sin nature, which we inherited from Adam, and a restored spirit we received at the point of salvation. The New Testament describes the struggle we face and provides the answers we need to suppress our sin nature.

That is where the title, “Your Dichotomy of Being” comes from; the two natures that struggle within you for mastery. I refer to this inner conflict as a dichotomy of being which will always require the enabling ministry of God, the Holy Spirit.

Now let us consider your dichotomous nature.

An Amazing Spiritual Truth

For purposes of clarity let us examine a dictionary definition of dichotomy.

1: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities the dichotomy between theory and practice also: the process or practice of making such a division dichotomy of the population into two opposed classes”

I believe that is a particularly good word to describe the remarkable situation in which Christians find themselves; we have two contradictory entities within us, the good, spiritual entity, made in the image of God, and the evil, fallen entity we received at Adam’s fall. While our spiritual self was restored to life by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, our physical body, inhabited by a sin nature, is still under God’s curse and its disposal is inevitable.

Spiritually, as born-again Christians, we have been made spiritually alive, indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit, and seated on the right hand of God, the Father; we have also been made joint heirs with Christ and eternally joined to God’s family as his adopted children. Let me point out this spiritual reality will outlast our physical reality by any infinite number you can imagine.

The dichotomy comes in because we presently inhabit a physical body that has not been redeemed and is still laboring under the curse of the fall of Adam. In addition, it contains a sin nature which was crucified with Christ but can still inflict pain and suffering if we let it. We will also live out our mortal lives as soldiers of the Lord, fighting a spiritual war on the spiritual battlefield called Earth.

While this is not a pretty picture, I believe it is helpful to understand, as fully as possible, the key facts surrounding our mortal lives as Christians. In accordance with God’s eternal plans, Christians are not called home at the moment of salvation but are left on this earth to accomplish God’s will for their lives. I have written more on this several times including “Your Duty to the Family.

Next time we will consider the tools God has given us to accomplish the goals that have been set before us.

Painting, “In His Own Image,” by Adele Bower ©

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