Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | August 22, 2017

Big Changes for September?

What, if Anything, is about to Happen?

A search of the internet for information on any of several variations of September 23, 2017 will produce many results relating to prophecy and the end times. What is going on that has drawn so much attention? The short answer seems to be a perceived special alignment of the sun, moon, stars and planets and a growing concern over the times in which we live.

There seems to be an abundance of discord and strife all over the world; the Bible has foretold that in the end times things would get worse. Paul’s warnings in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and Romans 1:18-32 are being played out in life all around us.

Whether or not these are the times referenced by Paul the descriptions seem to be a good fit with what is being observed today. It is becoming ever more difficult to simply watch network television as subject matter, both nationally and locally, tends toward the disgusting and distasteful almost without exception.

There are also other signs that have been foretold that seem to be proliferating all around us; the question that comes up is September 23rd one of those signs?

What is Being Considered for September 23rd?

Revelation 12

Much of the information circulating on the internet involves astrology regarding the stars, constellations, planets, sun and moon and their alignment on the 23rd. I respectfully disagree with their conclusions.

The Bible condemns astrology. In several places astrology is described as false and unreliable. I see it as very unlikely that Revelation 12 has an astrological basis that involves the stars and the planets. Speculation includes the date of the Rapture; the date the Tribulation begins and the date of the Second Advent which ends the Tribulation. I will not honor that speculation by repeating those dates here.

The traditional interpretation of Revelation 12 sees the reference to the sun, moon and stars as symbolism based on Biblical references to Genesis 37:9-11. I’m inclined to agree with that interpretation.

The Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah

In addition to the Revelation 12 component there is the Jewish Feast component. It so happens that the Jewish civil new year observance, Rosh Hashanah, starts on September 20th at sundown; this will signal the beginning of the Jewish year, 5778. This is often referred to as “The Feast of Trumpets” and is one of the last three Jewish Fall Feasts awaiting fulfillment. It is the first day of the 10 “Days of Awe” which conclude at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Is this a Feast of the Church or a Feast of Israel? Pentecost had a direct application to the Church as that was the day the Holy Spirit indwelt believers for the first time and the church came into existence.

Now the question is will this Feast of Trumpets be the time the church is taken out of the world by the Rapture, something else related to Israel or simply another Feast Day? The Bible does not specify therefore speculation is running wild as to whether or not the Church will be raptured at this particular Feast of Trumpets and I don’t know.

The Rapture

One thing I feel confident about is no prophecy remains that must be fulfilled before the Church can be called home. This means the rapture could happen at any time. I have previously prepared a timeline which I still believe to be the best information I have been able to find. It includes some speculation that is based on Scripture and I show it below.

Nothing that I have seen recently compels me to change any of this timeline. I’m of the opinion that October will arrive on schedule and without any life changing events; we certainly don’t have long to wait to find out what the Lord may or may not have planned for the 2017 Feast of Trumpets. (Click on the timeline to enlarge.)

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | August 14, 2017

Earthquakes and Two Solar Eclipses – a Divine Warning?

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars.” Luke 21:25a

Total Solar Eclipse – American Astronomical Society Photo

Solar Eclipse Number One

It seems inevitable excitement will continue to grow about the upcoming solar eclipse. The title, America’s Solar Eclipse, is rather provocative, don’t you think? Why is it just America’s solar eclipse; the answer is very simple, only the United States will fully experience this particular celestial event; the first one in 38 years to impact the United States.

On August 21st the earth’s required alignment with the sun and the moon will begin over the Pacific Ocean, cross diagonally over the United States, reach a maximum near Hopkinsville, Kentucky (which is about 149 miles by car from New Madrid, MO), and then move out of alignment over the Atlantic Ocean. The United States is the only nation that will experience this event.

Track of 2017 Solar Eclipse, Courtesy of NASA

Courtesy of NASA

The celestial mechanics that surround the eclipse are well understood; in 1855 a book by Asa Smith, “Smith’s Illustrated Astronomy” showed diagrams of this phenomenon. Although solar eclipses can and do occur all over the world this particular one is exclusive to the United States.

Solar Eclipse Number Two

The United States will share in a North American solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 which will pass over Mexico, enter the United States over Texas and exit over a small portion of Canada.  This solar eclipse will also originate over the Pacific Ocean and terminate over the Atlantic Ocean.

 Track of 2024 Solar Eclipse, Courtesy of Google and NASA

The two total eclipse tracks intersect in the vicinity of the New Madrid Seismic Zone; the largest recorded major earthquake in that zone was in 1811-1812 when a series of earthquakes of varying magnitude followed a major quake of 7.5–7.9 on December 16, 1811.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone

“The NMSZ appears to be about 30 years overdue for a magnitude 6.3 quake because the last quake of this size occurred 100 hundred years ago at Charleston, Missouri, on Oct. 31, 1895 (it was a magnitude 6.7). A magnitude 6.3 quake near Lepanto, Arkansas, on Jan. 5, 1843, was the next prior earthquake of this magnitude. About 75 percent of the estimated recurrence time for a magnitude 7.6 earthquake has elapsed since the last quake of this size occurred in 1812.” Missouri Department of Natural Resources” Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Recorded history tells us of another earthquake of unknown magnitude in that area on December 25, 1699. More information can be found on Wikipedia here: New Madrid Seismic Zone History

On May 1, 2016 there was a minor M 3.5 earthquake near the town of La Center, Kentucky; the largest of 11 earthquakes that have taken place recently in the vicinity of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Because of the nature of the rock structure in this vicinity the zone is considered to be far more dangerous. The devastation that could be caused would be much more widespread than earthquakes in California.

“Due to the harder, colder, drier and less fractured nature of the rocks in the earth’s crust in the central United States, earthquakes in this region shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California and most other active seismic areas.” Missouri Department of Natural Resources. For more information I refer you to the New Madrid Seismic Zone

 

New Madrid Seismic Zone, Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

While the science is well understood is there any other aspect of this event worthy of consideration? There are many who see prophetic implications in the timing and location of this eclipse and the one coming just under 7 years later in 2024. It has been pointed out by some that the sun and moon have been considered as signs from God and there is a Biblical basis for that thought. In Genesis 1:14 it is written:

“14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.”

In the Hebrew, the words for signs and seasons definitely have a theological significance which is different from the traditional four seasons of the year. It is reasonable from the testimony of the Bible to believe there could be more involved here than celestial mechanics. I’m mindful of Romans 1:18-20 where it is written:

“18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

The question comes to mind; does this event have anything to do with the end times and end time prophecy? Compelling arguments can be made that it does; time will tell and we don’t have long to wait.

 “And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10 Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.” Luke 21:9-11

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | August 7, 2017

Forgiveness

Law versus Grace

As one reads the New Testament it is sometimes easy to forget the major change that was taking place during the First Advent of our Lord. God’s plan for dealing with mankind through Israel was being temporarily replaced by a new plan that had been concealed from the Old Testament Prophets, a mystery plan that was yet to be revealed called the church age, the age of grace. This plan was to be revealed by the Apostles in the power of God, the Holy Spirit and began at Pentecost AD 33.

In Acts 2 verses 1-2 it is written:

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.”

Here we see the fulfillment of the promise given to the disciples in John 14:15-17 where it is written:

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

Later in John 16:7 the Lord tells the disciples:

 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.”

On Pentecost, May 25, AD 33, this promise was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, indwelt human beings for the first time. The world was now populated by two distinctly different classes of people; those who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Christians, and those who were not.

The Church Age, the age of grace had begun and the world would never again be the same; Christians had become a temple of God, the Holy Spirit!

A reasonable question at this point might be to ask: “What does this have to do with forgiveness?” That would be a fair question and I’ll attempt to address that now.

The Mosaic Law and the Age of Israel

Israel had been given a period of 490 years to accomplish the objectives set out by God but was set aside on the date of the Lord’s “Triumphal” entry into Jerusalem on March 30, AD 33, the week he was crucified. The four Gospels are actually describing the last days of the age of Israel and the Mosaic Law while the Church Age begins in Acts 2.

All this was prophesied by the Prophet Daniel who foretold the separation between the first 483 years, which are past, and the remaining 7 years which are still in the future. The gap between those two parts was a mystery called the Church Age, the age of grace which is where we are now.

Now let us pursue the earlier question; “What does this have to do with forgiveness?” In Matthew 6:14-15 it is written:

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

That seems to be a rather straightforward statement, wouldn’t you think but then how does that verse fit in with Romans 8:1-4 where it is written:

“8 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

In what sense are we under no condemnation when our failure to forgive others results in God not forgiving our sins? Did something happen between those two verses that changed the dynamics of forgiveness? I believe the answer to that question is yes; the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ had put everything in a new perspective.

As Christians we have been given, as a free gift, the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; when the Father sees any Christian He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ, we have been covered by the shed blood of Christ at the moment we received Christ as Savior. Therefore there is now no condemnation for any Christian!

What about Failure to Forgive and other Sins?

As Christians we are all painfully aware of our many shortcomings and understand that we frequently fall short of the divine standard. God knew we would have that problem and provided a remedy, confession of sin. In 1 John 1:8-10 it is written:

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

No Christian of my acquaintance seems to believe they are free of sin; I’m certainly aware of my own sinfulness before the Lord which is why I confess my sins to God on a regular basis. Salvation does not guarantee perfect behavior but it does guarantee perfect reconciliation with God.

As Christians we exist on two planes, a positional plane and an experiential plane; positionally we have been perfected by Christ, experientially we are struggling with life and sometimes failing. This is where confession of sin comes in; that, tied with God’s faithfulness, provides restoration.

While the Holy Spirit indwells us forever, the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives can be quenched by unconfessed sin; this power can be restored by our confession of sin.

Failure to forgive as we have been forgiven is sin and quenches the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives; our place in God’s family as His children is never compromised but our quality of life, our peace and joy is greatly compromised by our failure to confess our sins to God. Holding a grudge or failure to forgive, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Failure to forgive someone is a sin for which Christ died on the cross; it is covered by the blood of Christ.

Take care to follow Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:4-9 where it is written:

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.”

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 17, 2017

You and Your Life as a Christian

A Strong Foundation for your Life

Has your life met your expectations, do you feel your life has gone well or are there some concerns you would like to address? Last time I suggested that it was practical to develop a Christian life that really works; how is your Christian life working? Do you have the foundation and basic structure required to provide a practical framework for your success as a Christian?

As an online missionary for Global Media Outreach I respond to requests for help from Christians all over the world. There often seem to be areas of concern about the nature and quality of their lives that are common to many; concerns about their failure to resist sin, feelings of fear and doubt, concerns that they are wandering away from God and no longer feel the power and joy of His presence in their lives, some even questioning if they’re saved at all.

All of these symptoms are evidence of serious spiritual malnutrition; these people are starved for spiritual food, the word of God.

It might be well to ask ourselves in the privacy of our own minds how are we faring spiritually; what kind of a foundation have we built for our lives? How do we measure up to the Biblical standard set in Galatians 5:22-25?

“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.”

What percentage of your waking hours could you honestly say your life is characterized by these qualities? This is completely between you and the Lord, of course, and no one else need be told. I’m sure we would all like to say these qualities characterize our lives 100% of the time but how true would that be for you?

Peter Addresses a Vitally Important Point

In 2 Peter 1:1-11 the Apostle is concerned with the quality of life of the Christian.

“1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

A rich welcome; that has a nice sound to it doesn’t it.

The Big Problem in Living the Christian Life

As you read this passage from 2 Peter you should notice the prominence of one word, knowledgegrace and peace as well as a godly life comes to us through our knowledge of him and the practical daily application of that knowledge to our lives.

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge

everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge

make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge

Knowledge of Bible doctrine, and the faithful application of this knowledge to one’s daily life experiences is the secret to a Spirit led life filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. There are no substitutes, there are no alternatives that will work!

A Vitally Important Distinction!

As Christian men and women we exist on two levels, our eternal spiritual level and our mortal earthly level. Peter addresses this distinction in verse one where he writes, “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours”

We have been given the gift of faith which has resulted in our gift of salvation; in Ephesians 2:8-9 it is written:

“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

This gift of salvation is an unconditional gift and will never be taken away from us; we have been justified and forgiven by the shed blood and holy righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ and that will never change. Spiritually we have been blessed beyond measure as is pointed out in Ephesians 2:6-7:

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

The mortal lives we now live on this earth are an entirely different matter; although the Lord might have called each of us home at the point of our salvation; He has chosen instead to leave us on the earth with a mission to perform. While we share certain responsibilities such as soldiers of the cross, ambassadors for Christ, Royal Priests, we each have our own special ministries given to us by our Lord and must find and pursue these ministries as enabled by our Lord.

Our Solid Foundation of Bible Knowledge

Unfortunately a solid foundation of Bible knowledge on which we can base our lives does not come automatically; it is something we must diligently and systematically seek out and work to acquire! This is why Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15:

“15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Would you be an effective workman for the Lord? If your answer to that question is yes then there is no substitute for studying, learning and faithfully applying Bible doctrine to your life experience every day!

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

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. (Romans 8:28)

Are you confident in your knowledge of that truth, do you have an unshakeable faith that God is indeed working everything together for your good; do you faithfully apply that confident knowledge to your life every day in every situation?

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 10, 2017

What is Practical Christianity?

Higher Ground by Adele Bower©

What does Practical Really Mean?

I was listening to a sermon the other day when the pastor spoke to a subject I had heard many times before; the idea that whether you’re a teacher or a preacher it is important to leave the hearer with something they can apply to their lives immediately. In one way that may sound like a good idea but then in another way is it always the best thing to do?

I worked as a homebuilder for over 36 years and early on was taught one lesson I never forgot; the importance of a good basic foundation and structure for the home you were building. The idea was if you had the basics right, then the additions could be adjusted as needed in order to get the desired results. Cosmetic details could be changed provided you were working with a strong, solid foundation and the basic structure was true.

Over the years I have come to see how life has some similarities to building a house; I think we’ll all agree that life comes with a lot of assembly required. I’m convinced that many of the same principles apply to life building as they do to home building. If our lives are to be a success they must have a solid foundation and a strong basic structure on which to add the cosmetic details.

Would it not be considered “practical” to build our lives on such a foundation and structure as well? While the cosmetic details of our lives are unique to each of us we share a common need to have a solid foundation on which to build our lives, do we not? It is vital that our construction decisions be based on the best available information even if that information may not appear to meet an immediate need for tomorrow or the day after.

The last several years of my homebuilding career were in an area with very active soil; the soil would expand dramatically when wet and shrink with equal drama when dry. This resulted in a lot of stress and strain on the foundation so we had a soil investigation done for every building site in order to determine what the characteristics of the soil were at that particular location.

The soil investigation was given to an engineer who would design a foundation for those particular soil conditions and we would build the house on the foundation designed by the engineer; we were trying to use the best available information starting from the beginning.

How Dependable is the Foundation on which you are Building your Life?

I suggest it would be unwise to use unrealistic information as a basis for making decisions when it comes to your life. In an earlier essay I wrote, “All of us have heard the expression “get real” which usually means to deal with life as it really is and stop dreaming. That is good advice as reality is the ultimate judge of the value of all of our actions and decisions.” What is Reality

In this same essay I wrote, “If the world and all we see is nothing more than a stage setting then what is reality? The answer is both simple and yet complex beyond our ability to understand. As always the only source of truth about anything ultimate is the Bible.”

I’m sure you already see where I’m going with this; if we are looking for solid, reliable information on which to design and build our foundation for life we must go to a source that can be trusted to give us the correct information and that is the Bible; nothing else even comes close!

There is nothing really beautiful about a foundation and almost nothing to find beautiful about the basic framework of a house; it is, however, of the greatest importance that these elements by thoughtfully and carefully crafted as the ultimate success of the entire house will depend on them.

Building Your Foundation

If I were to try and identify the foundation for each of our lives I would identify the basic perceptions we have of ourselves and the world; when we wake up to a new day how do we see ourselves, how do we see the world in which we live? We might call these perceptions our basic assumptions about life and we generally make our daily decisions based on these assumptions.

Are our perceptions of reality and our assumptions about life based on the Bible or on popular opinion? Building a solid, realistic worldview requires reliable information and the Bible is the only source of that kind of information; if our assumptions are to be realistically valid then they should be based on the Bible.

While the Bible does not generally address the daily details of life it does establish broad principles for living which can provide the needed guidance when the time comes to make decisions about the details of life. These broad principles are present in both the Old and New Testaments but for the Christian, living under the New Covenant, the New Testament is the best source of rock solid information about life.

There is a body of knowledge which has been accumulated over the centuries that extracts this foundational knowledge about life from the pages of the Bible. I have found the doctrinal statement of Dallas Theological Seminary to be an accurate source of information for preparing a foundation for living. It can be found here: DTS Doctrinal Statement I personally believe and follow the “Full Doctrinal Statement.”

At first it may appear that a good knowledge of Bible doctrine is not essential to living the Christian life; I can attest to the truth that it is, in fact, an exceedingly valuable tool for living the Christian life well. I encourage you to look to the Bible for the basics of living a successful Christian life and encourage you to follow Paul’s advice to Timothy: “15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

My thoughts and suggestion on this subject are not original, please consider the following:

“46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

I encourage you, no, I respectfully urge you to build your house on the solid rock and that rock is the Lord Jesus Christ! Practical Christianity is Christianity that works; I believe this kind of Christianity is best described in Galatians 5:22-25 where it is written:

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

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

 

 

 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 3, 2017

The Survivors Fund

A Very Worthy Cause

For several years now I’ve been a life member of “The 100 Club” and have chosen to exercise the privilege of contributing monthly to what is called the Survivors Fund. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Survivors Fund here is a brief description from their website:

“100% of your tax-deductible donation to the Survivor’s Fund goes to help the dependents of peace officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. When the unfortunate happens – The 100 Club appeals to its members and the public for donations and then, based on need, disburses funds to the dependents family.”

I noticed this month an appeal to spread the word about the work being done by the Survivors Fund and thought this might be a good opportunity to share this information which is why this is appearing this week.

For those of us who live in the Houston area this is another opportunity to help those who help us. I encourage you to check it out and make a donation if that idea appeals to you.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 26, 2017

Your Dream World and the Blue Pill

The Matrix

 Directed by the Wachowski Brothers; winner of four Oscars.

In 1999 the movie, “The Matrix” was released to considerable acclaim by both audiences and critics. I do not recall exactly when I first saw the movie but remember being impressed with what I found to be a totally new plot theory unlike any I had encountered before. Having been a science fiction fan since around 1939 that took some doing as I had read or seen so many science fiction stories and found many of them repeating, with minor changes, a similar storyline.

It was going to take some time but I began to realize the parallels between our life on this earth and life in the “Matrix Universe.” For those of you not familiar with the story a character named Thomas A. Anderson, alias Neo makes a life changing discovery; here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on the movie:

The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction film written and directed by The Wachowskis, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, and Joe Pantoliano. It depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called “the Matrix”, created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer “Neo” learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the “dream world.”

I have written on this before in my essay The Real Matrix Revealed but would like to think more on this idea of true reality and the real matrix in which we ourselves will live out our mortal lives, our very own “dream world.”

The Blue Pill

In the story Neo is told the truth of his situation and given the opportunity to take a non-reversible blue pill that will change his life forever and discover for himself what reality is really like; he decides to take the blue pill and his adventures begin. We too have a blue pill called salvation in Jesus Christ; when we take that blue pill we are born again and given spiritual life and God, the Holy Spirit to live in us forever. Only then do we have the power of discernment and the ability to distinguish between our matrix and true reality.

In the movie a character named Morpheus who was already free of the matrix had to help Neo discover the truth; in real life we too must have someone outside our matrix deliver to us the truth of our situation if we are to ever be free. For us the truth has come in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the blue pill is the new birth which comes by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

The truth of creation and all reality is revealed exclusively in the Bible; only those who are spiritually alive and willing to study learn and apply those teachings to their lives have any hope of successfully dealing with the matrix of our lives and true reality.

In the movie the characters that had been freed from the matrix had the ability to either connect or disconnect from the matrix. In our matrix this is not possible; although we are empowered to distinguish between reality and the matrix this is a matter of faith as we must continue to live out our mortal lives in the matrix.

A Vastly More Complex Matrix

The matrix in the movie existed only as a complex digital program that altered the perception of those individuals plugged into it but left all else unchanged; our matrix exists on both a spiritual and physical level and has the appearance of permanence; we are removed from this matrix only by our mortal death.

This winds up confusing a lot of people into thinking this world is reality and the final arbiter of what is valid and what is invalid; such a self-deception is both dangerous and destructive to any who fall into that trap. I have discussed this danger more in the essay, What is Reality and encourage anyone who has not read it to take a look.

I will once more emphasize the importance of perception; your perception of reality is so vitally important to your present and your future. If your perception of reality is not based on the teachings of the Bible it is probably based on your dream world and that can be disastrous for you; a mistake in judgment here can have profound, eternal consequences; choose carefully.

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 16, 2017

Are You Living in Interesting Times?

Turmoil and Discord Prevails

The most casual perusal of the news today reveals we are living in a country that is deeply divided against itself. The Democrat Party is in full attack mode against the Republican Party and each other and the Republican Party is fighting Democrats and each other. It appears that the best interests of the people and the nation have little or no place at all in the national arguments that fill the news.

It saddens me to observe the deep divisions that have divided this country into many factions that are fighting and attempting to destroy each other. The electorate has given the Republican Party an opportunity to run the country and it seems that all the Republican Party can do is to run each other into the ground and defend themselves from attacks by Democrats.

 Admittedly President Trump came in as an outsider with the declared intention of “draining the swamp” which became fighting words to the swamp dwellers who were thriving in the swamp environment. Lines have become ever more clearly drawn as the factions attack each other hoping to find vulnerable spots in the others defenses. This internecine warfare seems to be the primary focus of those who should be more concerned with the welfare of the nation and the people.

While national well-being is ignored all efforts are focused on the fight between those who should be brothers working for the common good. It compels one to wonder if there is any hope for this nation or has it, perhaps, run its course and is now ready for a major change.

Now James Hodgkinson, a Bernie Sanders Democrat campaign volunteer, has been killed by Capitol Police as he was attempting to assassinate a number of Republican Congressional Representatives at a baseball practice Tuesday morning.

The Lord Jesus Christ told the Pharisees; “25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” The way things are going now makes me wonder if this nation can stand.

There is Something Else Going On

While we are inundated by a flood of bad news about the government, the nation and the world there is a process at work which will ultimately and profoundly affect all things but is going unnoticed by almost everyone. God is not mocked; His will is being implemented at all levels of life and experience and will at some point, known only to God, emerge with awesome power and conviction.

Although the timing on this revelation of God’s power is known only to God, I believe the very first manifestations of this emergence are beginning to appear before us even now. We are given clues for which we can watch in several sections of the Bible. In Matthew 24:6-13 it is written:

“6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Again in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 it is written:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

I believe we are seeing the beginnings of these birth pains referenced by the Lord; it seems to me the signs the Lord mentions are fairly well all in place at this point in time. While this is only the beginning, their intensity will certainly increase as time goes by.

The First Indisputable Sign of the Lord’s Return and the End of the World as we have known it

Bible prophecy tells us there are no remaining, unfulfilled prophecies that must occur before all born again believers are taken home by the removal of the church by the rapture; this could literally happen at any moment. The timing on this event is known only to God, however; we have no idea whether this will be measured in days, years or even centuries of time remaining before the Lord calls his children home.

The Lord has told us there will be signs and as his children we are to be mindful of the signs that will be given to us. These signs should be an encouragement that the Lord’s plan is being fulfilled and he is working all things after the counsel of his own will. One of the criticisms the Lord had for the Pharisees was their failure to notice the signs God was providing for them. In Matthew 16:1-4 it is written:

16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.”

The sign of Jonah was fulfilled by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord but even this sign was rejected by the Jewish leaders. Today the equivalent sign from heaven will be the removal of the church but this too will be rationalized away by world leaders.

As Christian men and women we are to see this world with eyes of faith; we are to see God’s hand at work in all that is occurring in the world today. We have been promised that God is in complete control of all things and is working them in accordance with his own will. Like it or not we appear to have been made spectators to what will be the most dramatic occurrences in the history of mankind.

There is, purportedly, an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times;” it seems as if this may apply to us.

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8 

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | June 13, 2017

The Mystery of Eternity in You

The following was written and published yesterday by my wife, Adele, on her blog, Letters From Adele.  I thought it very beautifully expressed the feelings of many Christians; being made in the image of God has profound ramifications!

Thoughts About Disney World and Eternity

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of man; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” ___Ecclesiastes 3:11

If the Lord has given me the privilege of taking from His Word what I think is a valid meaning……..and I think He allows me to do that……..then Ecclesiastes 3:11 is one of my favorite to contemplate.

MY THOUGHT: I think the Lord has put in our hearts (as His children) an intense desire for many wonderful things; perfection, love, belonging, beauty, fellowship with Him…..in His words…..”eternity”.

I love Disney World…as many of my friends know. We love to take trips there with as many of our family members as possible. It is truly a magical place, where perfection is job one. After being there very long and returning to the real world, I often wonder why other businesses do not try a little harder to create a better experience for their customers.

But Disney World is only a creation, certainly a very successful one, but nevertheless, a creation. It occurred to David and me long ago that DW senses that longing in our hearts that Solomon mentions in the verse above.

As the old saying goes, “There’s no place like home”, and eternity is our home, not our current location. We strive to create perfection, love, etc……in a world that belongs to the evil one right now, but we continue to try…because we “…cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I’ll keep trying to satisfy that longing while here, but am very happy to know that perfection only the Lord Himself can create is waiting for me…..and you. Praise Him!

‘Til He Shouts!
Adele Bower

Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | May 31, 2017

A Happy Birthday Message to the Church!

The Church is 1,984 Years Old

According to the Jewish calendar today is Shavuot, Pentecost, May 31, 2017; on Sunday, June 4, 2017 some churches will observe Pentecost, the 1,984th birthday of the true church; an event generally overlooked by many. It was “born” on May 25, 33 AD on the date that year of the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Pentecost.

This was truly an amazing event as the face of humanity was changed forever. At that point a completely new type of human being came into existence, human beings who had been permanently indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit. The former type of human being was still around in great abundance but now a completely new creation, human beings indwelt by God, began living on the earth.

Before the creation of the church, the Holy Spirit had been with individuals chosen by God for special ministries but the Holy Spirit had not permanently indwelt them as He would indwell all who were born again during the church age.

Before that momentous occasion, the Spirit of God, had dwelt successively in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple in Jerusalem before the Babylonian Captivity, but had not been present in the restored Temple in Jerusalem which later came to be known as Herod’s Temple. During those earlier periods, the indwelling of God produced visible results in that the radiance of God was manifested when the Spirit of God dwelled in the Tabernacle and the Temple.

Just as the visible glory of God was hidden in the Lord Jesus Christ, the visible glory of God would also be hidden as the Holy Spirit indwelt each and every human being who received Christ as Savior regardless of denominational affiliation or lack thereof. The situation was complicated by the fact that the outward appearance was not changed at all and by simply looking at people one could not tell whether they were indwelt by God or not.

A Hidden Change with Great Eternal Significance

Although the visible manifestations of the new creation are hidden, the spiritual realities are profound and eternal. Long after this physical realm in which we find ourselves has been destroyed, these spiritual realities will still be in full force and effect. The eternal destiny of those who are spiritually dead is the Lake of Fire, for those spiritually alive and indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit, a future in the new heaven and the new earth as a member of the family of God.

Those who are alive are cautioned to avoid being unequally yoked with those who are dead; there is a great gulf fixed between the living and the dead which can only be bridged by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. We who are alive are commanded to offer directions on passage over that bridge to those who are dead. Those who choose to cross the bridge can join the ranks of the living and become a part of the new creation while those who reject the offer to cross that bridge continue to live under the wrath of God.

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:36

Happy Birthday to All Who Have Crossed from Death to Life!

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