"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Will Heaven be Boring?

Some people believe Heaven will be dreadfully boring, just sitting around on a cloud playing a harp. Sounds OK for a little while, but eventually it would get pretty boring.

There’s one problem here. Boredom in Heaven is an impossibility! Boredom requires an element of time – doing the same thing over and over, or not having anything to do for a period of time. However, there will be no time in Heaven. Heaven, or Eternity, is not a long time but the absence of time.

In Eternity, we will be living in the moment without concern for past or future. Boredom will simply not be possible.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Worship - According to Tozer

Worship – Another paraphrasing of A.W. Tozer

The kingdom of God has suffered a great deal from men who would rather fight than pray. It has also been done great harm by men who would rather be nice than be right.

False worship:
Cain worship – Assumes God to be different than Who He is,

- Assumes a relationship to God that isn’t there,

- Assumes sin is not as serious as it really is.

Samaritan worship – Heretical worship
- Picks out what you want to believe and rejects or ignores the rest.

True worship:
“Worship must lie within the confines of eternal truth. God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Only the Holy Spirit can enable man to worship God acceptably.

Only the Holy Spirit can pray acceptably, or do anything acceptably. I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit not only ought to be but have been present in His church all down the centuries.”

To worship him in truth, I must believe what God says about Himself, about His Son, about me, about sin, and about grace.

We must never edit or apologize for God.

We must believe Jesus is our Saviour and Lord.

We must believe all that God says about us – what He will do for us, and that we are as bad as He says we are.

We must believe that sin is repulsive to God, and unacceptable in Eternity.

We must believe that God’s grace is as great as He says it is.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The first definition I came across was, “instead of lies and supernaturalism.” Supernaturalism; where did that come from? What was this, the beginning of an attack on faith?

Then I found this astounding revelation, “on veridical truth, as opposed not only to proven falsehood, lying and promise-breaking but also to institutionalized religion and other forms of supernaturalism.” So it is an attack on faith. (Veridical, by the way, means real, actual, or genuine.)

It would appear that veridical truth is not opposed to non-institutionalized religion. You gotta be careful what you read on the internet; there is all kinds of clap-trap.

Later I found a better definition, “conformity with fact or reality.” I also found that the word is Anglo-Saxon in origin and has an element of “faithfulness” at its roots. Isn’t that ironic?

Also, the Biblical definition of the word is, “opposed to falsehood,” “fidelity” (which has an element of faithfulness), and, of course, Jesus referred to Himself as the Truth.

My search for truth in Christianity will take me in many different directions. I invite you to come along and help me on this quest. Much of it will question popular doctrine, especially those which have become popular in the last 50 years or so. You will see a number of articles with “Romantic Christian” in the title. This is one of the terms I use to describe what I believe are Christians who have strayed from Biblical truth.

There are so many Christians, including entire denominations, big ones, that have romanticized Christianity to the point where it is not the least demanding, not at all difficult, there is no real requirement of us, no cross to carry, in fact, it’s become just a warm, fuzzy way to supplement our lives and make them better. This, of course, has nothing to do with Christianity.

Christianity is about restoring a fallen race to the God Who created them. It demands much of us; it is exceedingly difficult at times, but always with help available; it requires obedience, submission, sanctification, sincerity, sacrifice, discipline, and truth. And it requires us to pick up our cross daily.

The cross has lost its meaning in recent decades. It used to mean a burden, or difficulty in one’s life meant to help that person grow in character and closer to God. Paul’s cross was the ‘thorn in his side, the messenger of Satan” that the Lord afflicted him with to keep him humble. Modern Christians, Romantic Christians, reject that kind of stuff and will go to great lengths to reject such crosses to their own detriment.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Romantic Christian and Sickness

A Romantic Christian does not believe that God can do anything that he perceives to be evil, such as making us sick?

But God does make people sick! In John 11:4, Jesus said (re: Lazarus), “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Was it not God who struck down Lazarus? Certainly Satan would not be interested in glorifying the Son of God.

Similarly, John 9:30 re: the man who was blind from birth, “it was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Again, was it not God who gave this man blindness from birth? Our adopted daughter was born with many handicaps, was she not formed in the womb by God?

The Lord doesn’t just use sickness to glorify Himself, but also to discipline and sometimes as a threat if His people don’t repent… The Lord prophesied through Micah (6:13), "So also I will make you sick, striking you down, desolating you because of your sins."

And sometimes as punishment or judgment for sins… Elijah prophesied to Jehoram in 2 Chr 21:14,15 "Behold, the Lord is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives, with a great calamity, and you will suffer severe sickness…"

And, also for discipline… In 1st Cor 11:27,29-32 Paul explains the consequences of partaking in the Lord’s Supper unworthily; “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we shall not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.”

Now, we know that Satan cannot touch Christians without permission from the Lord. The Lord gave permission for Satan to strike Job, and also Paul. The “thorn in the flesh, the messenger from Satan” required the Lord’s permission, and in Paul’s case was almost certainly initiated by God for the sake of keeping him humble (to keep me from exalting myself) II Cor 12:7. So if God gives permission, or approves of Satan afflicting Christians, is He not then ultimately responsible?

That it was a sickness, there can be little doubt. Paul himself called it his “weakness”. There’s no way possible that that can be construed as the strife he suffered in his long list of calamities. It is plainly obvious that Paul had a problem with his eyes. Gal 4:15 "Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me." And 6:11, "See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand." I believe the one verse confirms the other, and if I’m not mistaken, that is considered reliable exegesis.

So why then doesn’t the Lord just bring conviction on us rather than giving us some terrible disease? This is the attitude of many romantic Christians who apply the promise that the Holy Spirit will convict us if we are in error to every situation. You can’t do that!

Generally the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, but generalities are generalities. A generality is a general statement that covers a range of things, rather than being concerned with specific instances. There are by definition almost always exceptions to generalities. One thing is for sure though; sometimes He just can’t seem to break through our defences. For instance: Didn’t the Holy Spirit convict Peter and James, the pillars of the church in Jerusalem, when they slid back into the bondage of the law? It seems to me that they didn’t come under much conviction until Paul rebuked them (Gal 2).

And what about David, that man after God’s own heart; that writer of songs and prophecies; that killer of lions, bears, and giants? Wasn’t he convicted of adultery with Bathsheba? Wasn’t he convicted of murdering her husband and several others of his best warriors, and ordering Joab to implement his murderous plan? Obviously, he wasn’t convicted until Nathan came alongside, and opened his eyes to what he had done (2 Sam 11 & 12).

Perhaps all these people were convicted, or at least the Holy Spirit attempted to convict them, but they may have been unwilling to receive the conviction. I don’t know. Fortunately, the apostles and David had the humility to listen to the word that was given them. But where was the conviction, or the humility, for Jim Jones, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggert, and others like them?

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Spirit Filled Life - A.W. Tozer (paraphrased)

The Divine Conquest
The Spirit-filled Life

A brief paraphrasing of some excellent theology by A.W. Tozer.

Christians are all over the map when it comes to the filling of the Holy Spirit. Some will avoid the very idea like the plague; others think that you are as filled at conversion as you are ever going to be. (Ed: Some believe that all you have to do is ask and the Lord will fill you without any preconditions or prerequisites other than conversion.)

But, every Christian can have a dramatic outpouring of the Holy Spirit far beyond that received at conversion, or that enjoyed by most Christians today. God will not surprise a doubting heart or fill anyone who still questions the possibility of being filled. A reverent study of the Word of God should remove any doubts.

Before a man can be filled with the Holy Spirit, he must be sure he wants to be. Are you sure you want to be filled with a Spirit who, though He is like Jesus in gentleness and love, will nevertheless demand to be Lord of your life? Are you willing to submit your will to another, even the Spirit of God Himself? If so, He will expect unquestioning obedience.

He will not tolerate in you the self-sins even though they are permitted and excused by most Christians. By the self-sins I mean self-love, self-pity, self-seeking, self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-exaggeration, or self-defense. He will not allow you to boast, or swagger, or show-off. He will take the direction of your life away from you. He will reserve the right to test you, discipline you, or chasten you for your soul’s sake.

He may strip you of those borderline pleasures that other Christians enjoy, but to you are a source of refined evil. Through it all, He will enfold you in a love so vast, so mighty, so all-embracing, so wondrous that your very losses will seem like gains and your small pains like pleasures. Yet your flesh will whimper and cry out against a burden too great to bear as you are permitted the privilege of suffering to “fill up that which is left behind of the afflictions of Christ.” Now, do you still want to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Before we can be filled with the Spirit, the desire to be filled must be all-consuming. I doubt whether anyone has received such a filling without first experiencing a period of deep anxiety and inward agitation.

Religious contentment is the enemy of the spiritual life. The biographies of the saints teach us that the way to spiritual greatness has always been through much suffering and inward pain.

(Ed: Jesus said, in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”) The way of the cross has always meant, the way of rejection and loss. No-one ever enjoyed the cross, just as no-one ever enjoyed the gallows.

Complete self-despair need not be discouraging. Despair with self, when accompanied by faith, destroys one of the hearts most potent enemies and prepares the soul for the Comforter. If we resist the sense of utter emptiness, of disappointment and darkness (Ed: The dark night of the soul, as it were), we may miss nearly everything the Father has in store for us.

If we cooperate, he will tear away our natural comforts and that false thing the Chinese call “face” (Ed: read – pride) and show us how painfully small we really are. When He is done, we will know what “Blessed are the poor in spirit” really means.

Be sure that during this process the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us, but will keep us as the apple of His eye, and keep us under His wings. His love will never fail even while He is taking us through this experience of self-crucifixion so real, so terrible, that we can express it only by crying, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

The value of the stripping experience lies in its power to detach us from life’s passing interests and to point us back to eternity. It serves to empty our earthly vessels and prepare us for the inpouring of the Holy Spirit. We must give up all and undergo an inward death; death to our self.

We must remember that the Holy Spirit is a person Who hears and sees and feels like any person. We can please Him, grieve Him, or silence Him. But to walk with Him, we need to continue in the Word, in prayer, in obedience, and in His purpose (will). And, we need to keep our thought-life clean and holy. If we do these things, He will make known to us the mystery “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

God bless you.

The Romantic Christian

Are you a romantic Christian? No, I’m not asking if you buy your wife flowers, or make your husband intimate suppers. I’m asking if you have romanticized Christ.

To romanticize means to deal with or describe in an idealized or unrealistic fashion. It’s hard to romanticize Jesus; He’s our creator, He is, was, and always will be perfect. But somehow many of us have come to distort the church that Jesus started, and to make it into something so user-friendly, so soft and furry, so undemanding, that it is nothing like the faith the He initiated.

So, what does a romantic Christian believe? For one, a romantic Christian may believe that when times get tough, Christians get outa here. I had a pastor one time who liked to shout from the pulpit, "Jesus might come at any moment, maybe before this service is through, and take us all away to Heaven. " That he was articulating the beliefs of many Christians and some of our largest evangelical denominations, is a tragedy that would turn the early church fathers apoplectic.

The theory of the pre-tribulation rapture will be explored more fully later, but, for now, I will say that it is probably the chief cornerstone of the romantic Christian. What could be better than to get out of here before things get really nasty?

One of the big problems with that is that most people who look closely at Christian demographics will tell you that somewhere between 3 and 10% of people who believe they are saved and going to Heaven, are genuinely saved. The remainder show little or no change in their lives; no discernable moral difference from secular people.

Consequently, 90 to 97% of “Christians” will likely be left behind if we have a pre-tribulation rapture. Not a very romantic thought, is it? Certainly not what Tim LeHaye would have you believe.