Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 6, 2019

December 7, 1941

Photo from 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

Tomorrow will be December 7, 2019, 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.

First published December 7, 2011; revised and updated.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | November 27, 2019

Love Revisited, Another Reason to be Thankful on Thanksgiving Day!

The Greatest of These is Love!

One of the most staggering truths revealed in the Bible is the nature of God; God is love! Even when mankind, created in the image of God, committed spiritual suicide by disobeying a direct command; God still loved mankind so much He sent His own Son to be born of a virgin with the sole purpose of dying as the substitute payment for the penalty that had been incurred by that disobedience.

We are told in Romans 1 how creation reveals the majesty and power of God and one look at the heavens on a clear night reveals the magnitude of the one who created it all and sustains its existence from moment to moment. It is only in the Bible, however, the basic nature of this powerful creator is revealed; it is only in the Bible we discover God is love.

In 1 Corinthians 13 the Apostle Paul discusses faith, hope and love and concludes the greatest of these is love. The need for both faith and hope will pass when we are finally home with the Lord but the joy of love will always remain. A great beauty of the Christian life is the opportunity to experience the joy of God’s love right now.

Love Came First

In Romans 5, Paul writes of the order of events; in verses 6-8 we are told:

“6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Mankind, lost in sin, was the object of God’s love, mercy and grace and the Lord Jesus Christ, in His humanity, died on the cross to make redemption a possibility for all who receive Him as Savior.

At the point of salvation we receive the earnest of our inheritance, are made spiritually alive and given the indwelling Holy Spirit of God to live with us forever; part of the gift of the Spirit is love, a love of God and all that is His.

The Apostle John gives us a beautiful summary of the blessings we have received at salvation when he writes in 1 John 4:7-12:

“7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

The Beauty and Blessings of Love

I’m sure we have all marveled at the positive and uplifting feelings love can generate; how the very core of our being seems to be stirred by the deep emotions we feel as we observe or think on someone loved very deeply. In my experience this has been true of not only human beings but also other living beings in which I see the hand of our Creator; I see the hand of God in the two cats who are members of our family, Abby Cat and Tomboy.

Abby Cat

Tomboy

In the beginning mankind was given the responsibility for all of the living creatures, in Genesis 1:26 it is written:

“26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Although mankind lost its position of rulership there still remains a responsibility to love and care for those creatures that were originally entrusted to us. The situation has changed dramatically under the curse of Genesis 3:14-19 but mankind still feels the responsibility to love and care for God’s creation as intended.

That we can love God’s creation, both animate and inanimate, is God’s gift of love to us that we might love and appreciate that which is important to God. In an earlier essay on God’s love I concluded with the following and would like to include it again.

“A Final Thought

One of the joys of loving people and all of God’s creation is a better understanding of how God can love us. If each of us, with all of the flaws we know we possess, can love each other and God’s creation, it becomes much easier to believe a Holy God who is free of all of these flaws can really love us as much as He says He does.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

First published on November 27, 2014, revised and updated.

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | November 22, 2019

Walking with God

A God Given Opportunity that Shouldn’t be Missed!

As Christian men and women, we are given some very spectacular gifts from our heavenly Father. Under the New Covenant, God’s children, at the time of the new birth, are adopted into a new family which will remain together for all of time and eternity. As a guarantee of membership in this new family, each believer is given God, the Holy Spirit, to live in them forever!

In addition, each believer is given the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ and full justification before the Father in heaven; “there is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This is spiritual reality, our mortal bodies of clay can have no part in our resurrection and must be totally transformed by the power of God, into a new, heavenly body, in order to participate in the heavenly promises, we have been given.

Our situation is clearly described in 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 where it is written:

“5 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

Verse 7 is a key point to the whole thing, walking by faith and not by sight; this is a pattern of life to be coveted by all who love the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. That verse is in the forefront of my thinking all day long, yet I seem to fail so often in its practical implementation; I truly want to walk by faith and not by sight but so often do just the opposite!

Wilderness Lodge, Disney World

Wilderness Lodge at Christmas

With only one exception, we have always stayed at Wilderness Lodge when we visited Disney World. Wilderness Lodge seems to have a very strong appeal for our entire family and we have enjoyed many happy times in the big room pictured above.

I can recall one time, as we were checking into the Lodge, I stepped in the front door and the music being played was a selection we had played at our wedding; the sound of the music, that welcoming room and the beautiful Christmas tree at its center overwhelmed me and tears started streaming down my face; I had a wonderful feeling of being home again at Christmas! I will never forget the intense emotion I felt at that time, it was not at all logical but, nevertheless, very intense.

I was somewhat embarrassed by the obvious emotion on my part and did my best to conceal it from the rest of the family; after all it was not a very manly thing to do to start crying when you entered a place like this. I only mention it because it is such a perfect illustration of walking by sight and not be faith; the physical circumstances had produced a powerful emotional response in me which I will never forget!

David and Adele by the big Christmas tree

Walking by Faith

In retrospect, I’m disappointed with myself when I think of my experience at Wilderness Lodge and realize that the spiritual realities of my relationship with Almighty God do not consistently produce the same reactions. The fact of the matter is, God has done infinitely more for me than Disney World and Wilderness Lodge could ever do, but I don’t seem to react to this fact with appropriate feelings and behavior. It is somewhat amusing to remember that I must pay money to enjoy Disney World and Wilderness Lodge while God has paid the admission price for me to enjoy heaven and eternity with him!

When I read of the blessings God has bestowed on all those who believe, I’m overwhelmed at an intellectual level; I believe all that God has done and will do and look forward to experiencing it in person, but it seems to be difficult for me to translate that knowledge into a consistent and appropriate emotional reaction. The only explanation that presents itself to me is I’m too inclined to walk by sight and not by faith.

I earnestly desire to let spiritual realities have the same dramatic impact on me that certain physical realities have had; why can I not have the same feelings of being home when I remember I’m constantly in the Lord’s presence? I truly believe that home is a person, not a place but seem to have difficulty in applying that principle to the indwelling presence of God, the Holy Spirit.

I have come to believe that a life of joyous, happy, fulfillment is available to all who will fully commit themselves to walking by faith and not by sight. It is important we remember the indwelling presence of God, the Holy Spirit, within us and learn to rejoice and delight ourselves in this great gift we have been given. By God’s grace, we walk with God every moment of every day; let us recognize that fact and let it be a constant source of unfailing joy to each of us!

Holy Father, by your grace may we, as your children, fully embrace your loving presence in each of us and let your joy and your peace be our constant companions as long as we shall live! May our lives reflect you and be a sweet-smelling savor to you now and forever. I ask this in Jesus name, amen.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | November 18, 2019

Conversational Prayer

For many years I have had a pattern of prayer which, I discovered, is called conversational prayer. For me, praying all during the day seemed like what I wanted to do but I didn’t have a name for it.

It was only later, when I was reading an article by a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, that I saw it described as conversational prayer. I was instantly comforted by the thought that I was not the only one who felt compelled to pray at various times all day long.

I’ll confess that much of my prayer life is thanking the Lord for his loving grace and rejoicing in him for all he has done for me. I see his hand everywhere I look and am often flooded with gratitude for so many things; I rejoice in the fact that I am his creation and exist by him and for him!

Today I got a devotional which I wanted to share with my readers; it was written by Jeff Wells whom I’ve mentioned before.

Unceasing Prayer

Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17

“This three-word command seems impossible at first glance, yet we know that our Father doesn’t give us commands to defeat us and frustrate us. He gives us commands for our good. What is God telling us here?

Be in an attitude of prayer all the time. Live your life in the presence of God. Realize that God is right there with you throughout the day and throughout the night. Sense his presence. Remember his presence. Enjoy his presence. Talk with him. Talk with him a lot. Throughout the day.

The idea is an ongoing conversation – talking, listening, singing, thanking, asking, interceding, praising, confessing, laughing, weeping. It is a life lived in God’s presence, enjoying God throughout the day.

Maybe it’s a bit like a persistent cough. That cough is in your throat throughout the day, ready to erupt in an actual cough at any moment. Similarly, we are in an attitude of prayer throughout the day, ready to erupt in an actual prayer at any moment.

We’re driving to work, talking with God about our day, about a project, about a conflict, about an important meeting. We’re playing with our preschooler on the living room floor and we breathe a prayer of thanksgiving. We’re at our desk, working away, and we pray for wisdom at various points. We’re walking to our car and remember a friend who needs a job and we lift our friend to God. We’re driving to the grocery store with a worship CD in the stereo and we’re singing to God.

It’s life lived before God. It’s not a burden. It’s not so much a discipline to practice, but an attitude to adopt. “God is here, with me, right now, and all the time!”

“Lord, teach us to pray. Teach us what it means to live life in your presence, praying without ceasing.”

November 18, 2019

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Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | November 7, 2019

Our Heav’n-Rescued Land

Praising the Power that Hath Made and Preserved us a Nation!

I discovered a long time ago, that verse 4, of our national anthem, is the one that is most likely to move me to tears. The words of verse 4 are:

“Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

source: lyricsondemand.com/n/nationalanthemlyrics/usanationalanthemlyrics.html

Any examination of the history of the United States will clearly reveal we’ve had help from above; God’s hand of blessing is so clear to those who can look at our history objectively.

A History of Controversy

I most sincerely wish I could say the behavior we are observing in Washington D. C. is not typical for our nation, but I simply cannot say that; if anything at all it seems to be the normal behavior historically exhibited by our national leaders. Looking back through the pages of our nation’s history we see time and again the same sort of behavior.

In spite of this childish behavior, our nation has done so much good over the years; we are aware of the many accomplishments this nation has achieved over its 243 years history.

As one reviews history it would be easy to believe there is a fundamental problem shared by all of us; some flaw in our natures which allows the unruly behavior which seems so typical of our species. The Bible speaks very plainly on that point, we do all share a flaw which is hereditary to our species, a cursed, fallen sin nature which we inherit at birth.

God’s Process of Preservation

God has a plan to work around that flaw, a plan which offers redemption and restoration to the individual and preservation to the nation. This plan was purchased by God at great expense, the death of God, the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, at Calvary as full payment for Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden.

Appropriation of this wondrous gift is by simple faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and God; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, it is that simple! While simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ provides redemption and restoration, the matter of national preservation is something else.

The Bible, once again, provides insights into the place and function of nations in God’s plan. In Daniel 4:17 it is written:

17 For this has been decreed by the messengers;
it is commanded by the holy ones,
so that everyone may know
that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.
He gives them to anyone he chooses—
even to the lowliest of people.”

There is one nation, one land that has been chosen by God to be his nation, his people; that is the nation of Israel. No other nation has been promised a land by the creator of the universe, only Israel. Although God has established the church and given the church responsibilities to spread the gospel and teach the commandments; the church’s home is not on this world, it is in heaven with God.

As we examine the Old Testament, we see God establishing and destroying nations as they relate to Israel; while nations may be called on to judge Israel, we see those nations pay a terrible price for their actions against Israel; this is not only true historically but also true prophetically.

The United States of America has been a historic friend and protector of Israel and as such, has received God’s hand of blessing. In addition, it has been a safe haven for the church and a center for the spread of the gospel and instruction in Biblical righteousness. As a result of God’s grace and mercy to this nation, we have been the recipient of God’s hand of blessing for many years.

Conspicuously Absent

An examination of prophecy reveals one major nation that is conspicuously missing from the world scene; the total absence of the United States. I believe the Rapture of the Church and the following battle of Psalm 83 will eliminate the United States as a world power; I have written more on this in other essays.

While we have no idea on God’s timing for these events, we can know, with complete confidence, that his timing is exact and certain and will be fulfilled precisely as he wills. In the meantime, we have the great commission to obey and instructions to rejoice in the Lord always; rejoice and be glad, God’s will is being fulfilled before our eyes!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 28, 2019

President Trump Booed by Washington Nationals Crowd!

President Donald J. Trump

Trump roundly booed by World Series crowd as fans yell ‘lock him up’ (Fox News Headline)

Why am I still shocked when I read something like this? What is wrong with this Washington D.C. crowd that people should boo the duly elected President of the United States and yell ‘lock him up?’ When will I ever fully accept and stop being surprised by the fact we are living in a time of spiritual warfare and conduct of this sort is to be expected?

I think there is probably a simple answer to at least one of those questions; over 100 years of liberal, globalist thought has controlled the mindset of many in our nation’s capital! Suddenly, a nationalist, conservative candidate is elected to the presidency, and the liberal crowd goes berserk!

We have repeatedly observed this kind of conduct from liberal politicians and their entrenched bureaucracy and when they attend a ball-game they’re like the leopard, they don’t change their spots!

Fox News Reporting

“The president, according to WUSA, did not sit with Nationals owner Mark Lerner after a Lerner family representative requested MLB not put the family in a position to turn down a request from the White House to sit with him.

However, at some point during the game, Astros owner Jim Crane did stop by Trump’s box to say hello to Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

In addition, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Trump decided not to throw out the ceremonial first pitch “in order to make the fan experience as positive as possible” for the series, which was tied at 2 pending the outcome of Sunday’s Game 5. The Astros to a 7-1 win Sunday night and a 3-2 lead.”

(https://www.foxnews.com/sports/trump-roundly-booed-by-world-series-crowd-as-fans-yell-lock-him-up) 10-28-2019

The only thing about that report that I liked was the Astros 7 – 1 victory and the Astros owner’s visit to the Trump box to say hello to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump!

The very idea the Nationals owner requesting the MLB to “not put the family in a position to turn down a request from the White House to sit with him” is an appalling display of the division in this country today!

A God of Second Chances

The Bible is filled with examples of God’s grace toward his creation; he so often gives his creation a second chance to get it right. The second birth is a perfect example of that, by simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, anyone who believes can be born-again; a second chance for all who believe!

After 100 plus years of liberal, globalist domination, God has given this nation a second chance, a president who puts the nation first and recognizes the inherent necessity of our Christian heritage!

As Christians, living in the end times, we have a responsibility to recognize the second chance God is giving us as a nation; it is vital we stand up for Christian principles and support those who do!

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 25, 2019

Leadership Squabbles in The Last Days of the Church

Christian Leaders on the Attack Against other Christian Leaders

Social media today is filled with articles and comments on the war between Christian leaders; if this strikes you as strange and inappropriate then you have a lot of company. While the issues are clear, to all who are following this war, the timing is unfortunate to say the least. We could very well be living in the climax of the ages and are wasting our time trying to defeat ourselves.

At a time when the church should be on the offensive “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” we are on the offensive against each other!

The Bible clearly describes the last church era, the church of Laodicea, and it seems we find ourselves right in the middle of it!

Reading About it Versus Living in it!

In the Book of Revelation, a book of prophecy, we read of the seven eras of the church. The last one described is called the church of the Laodiceans.

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:14-22 KJV

In an earlier essay, I mentioned my son refers to this as the church of the expectoration, which seems like a rather apt description to me. What is of interest is the absence of any reference to the church after Chapter 3 is concluded; Chapter 4 begins with, what many believe to be, the removal of the church from the earth, aka, the Rapture.

“4 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

I am convinced we are living in the last church era, the church of Laodicea; this era will be ended by the removal of all born-again believers from the earth and could happen at any time. The sad fact of the matter is the Rapture will leave all too many churches completely unchanged!

Life in Laodicea

Verses 14-20 describe conditions during the last church era; I believe we can look around and see those conditions in abundance around the world today. While reading about the era of Laodicea is interesting, living through it is painful; it saddens me when I see the glorious message of redemption by faith in Jesus Christ being lost in the clamor of discord which is so prevalent in the church today.

We are living in a time when the spiritual war is heating up and instead of fighting this war, we are fighting each other! Neither a house nor a kingdom divided against itself can stand and we’re seeing both the church and our nation terribly divided.

I suspect it brings Satan great joy to see Christians attacking Christians today; at a time when the Church should be united against the forces of Satan in this spiritual struggle, we are so busy trying to undermine and discredit each other to even bother with the enemy. It is no wonder that attendance at church is falling when the image presented by the church is not the image of victorious Christianity, but the image of the world.

People are getting enough of that as they live their lives each day; why go to church to find more of the same? It is well past time for the church to restore its primary mission as described by our Lord:

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 23, 2019

God’s Third Greatest Gift!

A Work in Progress

In September of 2013 I published an essay, “God’s Second Greatest Gift.” In this essay I wrote in the first paragraph:

“In the minds of any Christian there can be no doubt about the identity of God’s greatest gift; the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity to die on the cross for the sins of the world is, without any doubt, God’s greatest gift to mankind! The wonder of this gift defies explanation or analysis; it is grace, mercy and love embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Toward the end of the essay I finally identify God’s Second Greatest Gift:

“God’s second greatest gift is a hungering and thirsting after the word of God, the Bible’s message to a world malnourished and starving for the teachings of Jesus. If you do not feel this hunger and thirsting then pray to God that He will give it to you!”

I still believe that essay to be true, but would now like to add God’s third greatest gift to the list of gifts we can enjoy from our Lord and God. Like the first two, this third gift has been paid for by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and is available to every Christian. This third gift flows from the first two but must, however, be learned and faithfully applied to life if it is to be enjoyed.

God’s Creation

I have long been amazed by the spectacular diversity of God’s creation; our family are animal lovers and have enjoyed the companionship of many wonderful animals of different species as members of our families. While the various species may have similar characteristics, they have been given unique personalities who bring totally distinct perspectives and behavior to the family.

While this is easily observed in people, it is also true, in a more subtle way, with all of God’s creation. Every created being, most specifically including you and me, is unique and has a different path that has been laid out before them by our creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve mentioned before my love for Psalms 139, particularly verse 16 where it is written:

“You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”

The enormity of that thought surpasses my very best efforts to comprehend it; it is a thought that I must embrace by faith with no expectation of full understanding. It is something I must add to that long list of impossible-to-understand items I must simply receive by faith and not by sight. Each of us travels a unique path that has been determined for us by our Lord in eternity past.

God’s Promise to his Children

God, in his loving grace and mercy, has promised his children to work all things together for their good. In Romans 8:28-30 it is written:

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”

We are cautioned not to try and understand what is happening and why it may be happening the way it does; in Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

One important lesson we must learn is we are not promised only good will happen to us; we are promised that all things work together for good; the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect illustration of that principle.

Now to the Third Greatest Gift

The third greatest gift must be learned and applied if it is to be enjoyed; even the Apostle Paul had to learn it. In Philippians 4:10-13 it is written:

“10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

The third greatest gift is the gift of contentment with what you have. I make no claim to having fully attained that gift and freely confess I have not been subjected to the same tests experienced by the Apostle Paul; I do acknowledge my heartfelt desire to strive for that gift and seek daily to come ever closer to enjoying the gift more fully.

I can further acknowledge, by God’s grace, I have peace and contentment with what I have; I find it very liberating to not desire what I do not possess. The world seeks to instill within us a desire for the new, the better, the different and tells us how the quality of our lives would be improved if only we had the product or service being advertised.

The basic truth of the matter is, peace and contentment come through an abiding faith in Jesus Christ; not through any material possession: years ago, I choose for my life verse Galatians 2:20 where it is written:

“20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 17, 2019

67 Years and Counting!

What an Adventure!

Today my wife and I celebrate our 67th wedding anniversary and praise the Lord Jesus Christ for his mercy, love and grace to each of us!

We had absolutely no idea where life would take us after we said “I do” on that memorable, (for us) occasion. She was 17 years old and I was 19 years old; neither of us realized how much more growing-up lay ahead but we just knew, whatever the future might hold, we wanted to do it together.

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 10, 2019

Time and Eternity

It Came to Pass

It has been calculated the expression, “it came to pass” is found around 452 times in the King James Version of the Holy Bible. I’m sure we have all probably shared in the thought that some things are better off having passed on rather than staying. Passing on is not only the pattern of life in the Bible, it is the normal way of life in the world we occupy.

There is no person throughout history that was so powerful or important they did not come to pass; kings, presidents, emperors, billionaires all come to pass; governments, nations and eras also come to pass; if it’s not coming, it’s going! At the time, it can be very difficult to tell when the coming part stops and the going part begins; it seems as if hindsight is the only reliable way to know when the shift occurs.

Nations and eras are a case in point; sometimes it is only after the shift has taken place that the timing becomes easier to identify. Much has been written about the life cycles of nations; while the authorship of the following is disputed, it is often attributed to a Scottish history professor, Alexander Tyler, in 1787:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
  • From bondage to spiritual faith;
  • From spiritual faith to great courage;
  • From courage to liberty;
  • From liberty to abundance;
  • From abundance to complacency;
  • From complacency to apathy;
  • From apathy to dependence;
  • From dependence back into bondage

Regardless of the authorship, the content seems to be very sound; I believe the headlines today fully support we are at the “apathy to dependence” stage. It appears that each Democrat candidate is trying to outdo the others in seeing how much public money can be distributed to voters who will vote for them.

The United States is 243 years old and counting; I am convinced the Lord will determine when the United States will cease to effectively function as a nation! I believe the clues provided in the Bible suggest the United States will go out with a bang, not a whimper!

The Age of Grace

Another clock is ticking as I write this; the timing on the Church Age, the Age of Grace; it too had a starting point and will have a stopping point. The Age of God’s Grace began on May 25, 33 AD and has now continued for over 1,986 years; based on clues provided in the Bible, I suspect the going part has been underway for some time now.

I am convinced God has this all timed to the very second; I have long been intrigued by the statement in Revelation 9:15 where it is written:

“15 Then the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth.”

While the verse starts with the hour, I’m of the opinion it would be safe to add the very second and minute to that prophecy and still be an accurate statement of what is going to take place in the future. If that event is timed so precisely, then it is reasonable to believe other prophetic events are timed with equal precision including the Rapture of the Church!

The End of an Age

The Age of Grace will end with the removal of all born-again Christians and the end of the restraining ministry of God, the Holy Spirit; as bad as things seem to be now, I promise you they will get vastly worse after the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth. I have written on the sequence of events following the Rapture of the Church in several essays including a four part series, “What’s Going to Happen Next?”.

The last 1,986 years have been a time of remarkable grace and blessing from God; God has been calling to himself a family who will be with him for all of time and eternity; this is a blessing which is infinitely beyond our ability to even imagine! As the down payment on this blessing, God has given us himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, who serves as his guarantor on the blessings both present and future he has planned for all he calls to be his children!

We are given a new birth into God’s own family, a living spirit, and the eternal indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as his promise to us of the future blessings to come!

It Came to Stay, Forever and Ever!

We are all creatures of time, it is natural for us to think in terms of time, I have great difficulty thinking of a timeless eternity; I join David as he writes in Psalm 139:6-

“6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

I delight in the thought we have been adopted by one so high and lifted up that we cannot even attain unto it!

One thing we can know by faith, even if it is beyond our understanding:

The New World Order God has Planned, is Coming to Stay, not Coming to Pass; once it has Come, it will Never, Ever Pass!

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