"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

Friday, December 30, 2011

What’s in Store for 2012?

Firstly, I am not a prophet so these words are my own thoughts not God’s. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. But as someone who watches world events, there are some things that are somewhat obvious:

The global economy will fall into a recession and come perilously close to a depression. A depression may be held off for another year or two because of the strength of the economies in places like China, India, and Brazil. The rest of the world will be dragged into recession by the failing economies of several European countries. Riots will increase in Greece, Spain, Hungary and many other countries as their governments collapse and they abandon the Euro.

Over the past few months several global companies have announced the lay-off of thousands, and even tens of thousands of personnel. Just today they announced that Sears and Kmart will close 100-120 stores. These do not bode well for an economic recovery.

The Occupy Wall Street movement will continue to grow in the US and may be dramatically invigorated by economic and political decisions. The Anti-Putin protest movement in Russia is a form of the Occupy movement and is extremely dangerous. Putin is very ambitious and is not likely to go quietly into retirement. Expect some dramatic development there that requires Russia to have a ‘strong-man’ at the helm. It will most likely be a war, but could be a wave of terrorism triggered and sponsored by Putin himself, but expect something to happen there and soon.

Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons continues despite sanctions. Today, Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz through which 40% of the world’s oil is shipped. This is another dangerous situation with potential to escalate. Mossad has been slowing down the development of nuclear weapons in Iran with mysterious explosions within the many nuclear compounds. At some point, Israel will have to strike these compounds with massive force initiating a state of full-out war with Iran, but this may not happen this year. When it does happen, remember, Russia is a military ally of Iran. That brings in the possibility of the Ezekiel 37 & 38 prophecies of a Russian-Islamic war against Israel. I would be a little surprised if Israeli PM Netanyahu did not launch a strike before the next American elections. The Republicans are staunch Israeli allies but they appear to be shooting themselves in the foot with a routine approaching the Keystone Cops. Netanyahu will want to strike while the Republicans still have some power.

In 'The Inevitable Middle-East War' below, I suggested (actually I first suggested it in 2008) that in order for a Russian-Islamic war on Israel to occur, the US would either have to abandon Israel or  they would be too financially crippled to be able to help them. The latest news from Washington indicates that the military will be reduced by 10-15% over the next ten years. The article also suggests that a similar reduction may have to be announced next year. When the full effect of the Euro-collapse occurs - look for this reduction to be expedited. The article also said that the main focus of the US Military will be switched from the middle-east to the far east. Is this the beginning of drawing away from Israel?

North Korea’s new ‘Dear Leader’ is only about 27 years old and is both a military and political neophyte. North Korea is a nuclear power and, like all communist states, is psychotically paranoid. They have the second biggest army in the world while half the population of the country is half starved. They don’t have the technology that sparked the Arab Spring so most of the population is still completely brain-washed. We can hope and pray that the young Kim Jong-un becomes a reformer and opens the country up to reality. If not, anything can happen there. He may want to establish himself as a great military and/or political leader, and this could be very dangerous.

The Arab Spring has managed to get rid of a few dreadful dictators. One can’t feel sorry for them, however, it is yet to be seen what they will be replaced with. While elections are promised and are being held, they will mostly be won by Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood is winning the elections in Egypt; hopefully they will win a majority because if they don’t the extreme Salafists may get the balance of power. They want strict Sharia law in place, and may well get it. Muslims will continue to abuse women and children throughout Asia and the Middle East. Stories of horrific abuse will become even more numerous than they have been in 2011. Moderate Muslims will continue to do nothing about it, as will the rest of the world.

All in all, the world will be a dangerous place in 2012. There will be wars and rumours of wars. There will be uprising and riots in streets that have never seen riots before. There will be difficult times ahead, especially for those who are heavily indebted. Apostasy will continue to be the predominant factor in the Christian Church as the ‘fear of God’ virtually disappears from the earth just when it should be rising. Will the Great Tribulation begin before the end of 2012? Probably not, but it is certainly possible.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Horrific Torture of 14 Year Old Bride Because She Won't be a Prostitute

An article today on BBC News revealed that Sahar actually managed to escape from the cellar where her new family tortured her. However, she was returned to her family by neighbours.


Afghan girl tortured by her in-laws for refusing to become a prostitute.
Sahar Gul was married off to a 30-year-old man around seven months ago, when she was just 14 years old. In the video, as Sahar is taken to hospital in a wheelchair, she is asked who beat her. She names her father-in-law, her husband, her sister-in-law, her brother-in-law and her mother-in-law. The 15-year-old says her hair and her nails were pulled out by her mother-in-law.
Police say that she had had her nails and clumps of hair pulled out. In addition they say she had chunks of flesh cut out with pliers.

Under Afghan law, the earliest age for marriage for girls is 16. However, almost half of Afghan women are married when they are younger.

How long, Oh Lord, how long? What an incredible girl to refuse to prostitute herself after absolutely inhumane torture. Such integrity belongs to heroes. May God help her heal.

Zina – Moral Insanity

Update 14th Jan 2012:

After much international condemnation President Hamid Karzai intervened and Gulnaz was pardoned. She now lives in a 'safehouse' with other victims of violence. She wants to go home but cannot return home unless her rapist agrees to marry her and can come up with a substantial dowery. Otherwise she would bring shame on her family and both her and her child would be in danger of becoming victims of 'honour killing.' She has little hope of being able to support her baby or herself except that a lawyer has started a campaign to raise money for her should marrying her rapist fail.

It appears that the rape would have gone unreported except Gulnaz got pregnant. Most rapes go unreported in Afghanistan because the girl's life is ruined if it becomes known.


Half of Afghanistan's women prisoners are inmates for "zina" or moral crimes. Some of the women convicted of "zina" are guilty of nothing more than running away from forced marriages or violent husbands. A documentary commissioned by the EU told the story of a 19-year-old prisoner called Gulnaz.

After she was raped, she was charged with adultery. Her baby girl, born following the rape, is serving her sentence with her.

"At first my sentence was two years," Gulnaz said, as her baby coughed in her arms. "When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn't do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?"

For Gulnaz there is now the hope of freedom. Her name is on a list of women to be pardoned, according to a prison official, but as she has no lawyer, the paperwork has yet to be processed.

Gulnaz's pardon may be in the works because she has agreed - after 18 months of resisting - to marry her rapist. "I need my daughter to have a father," she said.

The EU has blocked the release of the documentary citing concerns for the women’s safety!!???

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays

It’s been at least a couple of decades since the media, followed quickly by big business (or was it the other way about?), began to use the term Happy Holidays rather than the traditional Merry Christmas. Last year, US President Barack Obama became the first president to use the term Holiday Tree. For this he was thoroughly rebuked in a letter from a devout Jew who told him to call it what it is. Though he didn’t believe Christ was the Messiah, he believed a Christmas tree was a Christmas tree. God bless him.

I frequently see my Christian friends complain about people using the term Holiday instead of Christmas, and I have probably done it myself many times. I won’t likely do it again though. It seems to me that we Christians are expecting non-Christians to respect what they don’t believe in. That’s a little absurd. Our frequent complaining must be like the Biblical nagging wife – a constant dripping, a clanging cymbal; it hardly glorifies Christ and certainly does nothing to draw non-believers to Him. That’s what we should be concerned about. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” Let’s lift up Jesus instead of beating down the unbelievers.
To all my readers, both of you, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Got Hit by a Car

 I should have known that dropping an open can of cornmeal on the laptop last night was just the beginning. But I woke up this morning, got dressed and took the pit-bulls (long-haired Chihuahua and three legged toy poodle – King Charles Cavalier spaniel cross) out for a walk. 

The very second we stepped out the door of my trailer it started to rain. Bailey (the tripod), being a refugee from Edmonton, understands weather and was done her business before leaving the yard.
Belle needs a longer walk. She finally stopped right behind a parked Camry. As I was preparing to pick up Queen Isabella's treasure, a car came along, rolled down his window and asked me to recite Bailey's life story while standing there in the rain.


After a brief tri-pedal biography, I turned and bent down to recover the Queen’s jewels and got wacked in the head. What was that? It was the Camry! I was hit by the Camry, and it was still coming at me. I yelled and hit the trunk with my fist and, fortunately, the car stopped. Fortunately, also, that it hit my head where there is very little likelihood of it doing any damage.
Neither the elderly woman driver nor the male passenger bothered to get out of the car. Amazing! And, of course, being a good Canadian I apologized for getting hit by her car.


Oswald Chambers: If we worship God in the trying circumstances, He will alter them in 2 seconds when He chooses. 

I decided I had better go to church.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Honour Killings - What Kind of Insanity is That?

In the news this weekend is the horrific story of a beautiful, 21 year old woman, Hawa Akther Jui, in Bangladesh, who had the audacity to enroll in a college without her husband’s permission. He was away in the United Arab Emirates, and when he returned, he was outraged that she had done this without his permission. He blindfolded her – she thought she was getting a necklace – then taped her mouth shut, tied her right hand to a chopping block and cut of all her fingers with a meat cleaver. What kind of insanity is that? Oh, his name is Rafiqul Islam.
Hawa Akther Jui enrolled in college without her husband's permission
A Montreal man is accused of murdering his 3 daughters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, and his first wife, Rona Amir, 41, because his oldest daughter was dating a boy he didn’t approve of. Somehow, the woman and three girls ended up in a car at the bottom of a canal in Kingston, Ontario. It’s called an honour killing, as though murdering half your family can restore honour. What kind of insanity is that? Oh, his name is Mohammad Shafia; he is from Afganistan.

Shafia girls and Mohammad's 1st wife - murdered
Shafia, his 2nd wife, and son - murderers all
In the US, Amina and Sarah Said were murdered by their father in Texas in an honour killing for having boyfriends. He shot them both in the back of his cab. The father was a Muslim from Egypt.

Palestina Isa, a 16 year old was murdered by both her parents in St Louis for dating a black man and taking a part-time job. Her mother held her down while her father repeatedly stabbed her. They were Muslims from Palestine.

Three girls, aged 15, 17 and 18 were allegedly assaulted by Gaddafi’s soldiers at a school near the Libyan city of Misrata, during a two-month siege. When they returned home, their father slit their throats in a so-called honour killing, according to Physicians for Human Rights. What kind of insanity is that?

Every year in the United Kingdom (UK), officials estimate that at least a dozen women are victims of honor killings, almost exclusively within Asian and Middle Eastern families – according to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia reports that during the year 2002 in Pakistan, it is estimated that 245 women and 137 men were killed in honour-killings. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that perhaps as many as 5,000 women and girls a year are killed by members of their own families. Many women's groups in the Middle East and Southwest Asia suspect the number of victims is about four times greater.

In this blog you can read the unbelievably horrific story of Nurta Farah, a girl who was treated with incredible cruelty for converting to Christianity from Islam. 

After months of being shackled to a tree, locked in a closet, forced to take anti-psychotic drugs, and being beaten, Nurta managed to escape to an aunt’s home in another village. She was soon found by her family though and shot and killed, for the honour of the family.

Also in this blog, is the story of a 14 year old Christian girl in Pakistan who was raped by 5 Muslim men. One of the men said, “We attended an Islamic religious convention, and the speaker said if you marry a non-Muslim or rape a non-Muslim girl, you will get 70 virgins in heaven.” That occurred in 2010. What kind of insanity is that?

An expert interviewed in the Hawa Akther Jui case by the BBC suggests that less than 2% of spousal abuse ever gets reported.

Of course, spousal abuse and honour killings are not restricted to Islam. They continue in parts of India and other Asian countries and may occur in Sikh and Hindu, as well as other religions. However, just by reading the daily news it is obvious that the majority of mutilations (including female genital circumcision) and honor killings occur in Islam.

News reports don’t differentiate between Shia, Sunni, Sufi or other denominations but I think someone should be finding out if one or more denominations dominate this evil.

While many Muslims cry that this evil is not taught in the Quran, in fact, many are teaching that very thing even today. As my sample suggests, it is still being taught in many, many countries around the world. While murder is condemned in the Quran, it refers only to Islam (read Muslim men). Killing infidels (non-Muslims) and apostates (disobedient Muslims) is not even considered murder.

 Islam watch tells us that:
“A Muslim woman, who is therefore disobedient, oppositional; critical or rejecting of a Muslim man, may be by extension, considered to be an apostate and rejecting Islam, which is an act and a heresy for which the punishment is or may be, death by beheading, depending upon the momentary disposition of the males within her family.

What is not well understood by non-Muslim’s, is that within the category of an apostate, may readily fall those women who criticize, or are in any way oppositional, or rejecting of a Muslim man, and whose subsequent butchery is considered not only NOT murder, but an act of compassion and righteous redemption; hence the absence of outrage and the resounding silence within the Muslim community.”

There is much more insight on Islam Watch’s web page into the way the Muslim male mind may work. But the question now is, are we going to continue to ignore this evil? Can we continue to turn our backs on it, even when it is occurring in our own country? Unfortunately, most people won’t even read this or similar postings, and most of those who do will do nothing. They won’t even pass this website on to their friends because it might upset them. What kind of insanity is that?

I would like to suggest that, at the very least, we could be lobbying our governments for action during the immigration of Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus whereby they are required to denounce verbally before an elder of their own faith & denomination, and in writing, such specific tenets of their faith that contradict the freedom and equality of western societies.

That would include recognizing the equality of women, the rights of all people to education, to change religions or abandon religion altogether, to associate with whomever they please. They would also need to denounce the right to kill or mutilate anyone except in the extreme event of self-defense. They would need to denounce any physically hostile act as a means of restoring family honour.

Governments need to be pushed because they are afraid of offending a rapidly growing demographic. “Those violent men are just a minority,” they say, and yet, with 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, a minority might still measure in the hundreds of millions.

Peaceful Muslims need to report when Immams or clerics are teaching that which is contrary to the laws of the country, and the government needs to deport such people.

Can we continue to ignore the suffering of women, who are considered only slightly better than dogs, by Islamic men? I tell you, we do so at the peril of our own souls.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Personality

Please read, "Individuality" first.

What’s right with some people? Why are people who are honest, open and sincere much more likeable and admirable than those who have attitudes or agendas, those who just refuse to go beyond the shallow end of the pool? At least they are to me, but they weren't always. When I was operating strictly out of individuality, I found them frightening and uncomfortable to be around. It is these people, the admirable ones, who are most likely operating out of personality rather than individuality.

Personality is much deeper then we can currently imagine. Chambers likens it to an island in the sea, where the island is simply the very top of a huge mountain. If you dove beneath the surface of the sea of individuality, you would get a glimpse of that mountain but would never be able to put it into proper perspective until the entire sea is drained, i.e. individuality is destroyed.

There’s another facet of personality that is important to know, and that is that personality is only complete when it merges with another personality. God made Eve because Adam was incomplete without her. I began to emerge from my sea of individuality only after falling in love with my wife. She began to break through the waves of falsehood, self-image, and constraints that I surrounded myself with and slowly my personality began to be revealed.  

This process also begins when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person. Individuality cannot merge with God, but personality can and, is indeed, designed to do just that. The love of your life may help to break you free from some of your individuality, but it is only the merging with Jesus Christ that totally destroys it and presents you complete and whole.

Love is the output of one personality merging with another. When you connect at the personality level, rather than as two individuals, love is the natural outcome. Connecting at the level of individuality is merely lust. There can be no love in a relationship where there is dishonesty; love requires truth, personality operates only in truth and individuality only in falsehood.

I invite you to go on a search and destroy mission. Search your heart for every part of your character that is less than honest and open. Search yourself for any sign of pride, fear, love of money, power or fame. These things come not out of personality but individuality and must be destroyed. This implies death to self, or more precisely, our right to our self. It is only when we die to our self and live for Jesus Christ that we will ever be complete and know real joy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Individuality

What’s wrong with some people? Why is it that you can talk to some people on a deep, heart-to-heart level, and others you can’t even approach that level? Why is it that some people make decisions that make no sense? Why are some people pushy and aggressive while others are meek and timid? There are a hundred other questions along this vein that I could ask here, but you get the drift.


During the first four years of my life I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Abandoned in the first year of my life by my mother, I was unable to bond with anyone until my daughter was nearly 2 years old. The fear, rejection and loneliness tempered my character most dramatically. I never contemplated disobedience (which might seem like a good thing but is quite unnatural for a child growing up); I was afraid of my shadow, afraid of being embarrassed, of being rejected. I was lonely though I grew up in a large family but enjoyed being alone anyway because it was safer.


My point is that as I was growing up I constructed characteristics that were protective against these fears. I never talked seriously with anyone. If I had something important to say, I would wrap it in a joke; that way it wouldn’t be rejected. It also ensured that I wouldn’t have to dwell on a serious subject which was very uncomfortable for me.


There was no doubt that I had some serious problems and those problems seriously affected me the rest of my life. Had I been given even a little bit of the wisdom that I’m about to share, it might have saved me and a lot of other people a great deal of pain. The wisdom comes not from me, but from Oswald Chambers and ultimately from God.

In his booklet, My Utmost for His Highest, Chambers defines the character construct that I describe above as ‘individuality’ (I’m not sure I like the term, but I like it better than Freud’s ‘id, ego, & superego’). He calls ‘individuality’ the counterfeit of ‘personality’. Individuality is to personality what lust is to love (a cheap imitation).
Individuality is the image we try to project to others. We are cool, smart, confident, in control. If we continue in individuality too long we may start to believe that we are really the person we are projecting, or trying to project. Individuality talks too much or too little. It likes to either hide or dominate. It likes to impress but it doesn't like risks.


Refusing to forgive someone comes out of individuality. Unforgiveness does much more damage to the unforgiver than the unforgiven. Most people know that and still can’t forgive, even though it is a requirement for forgiveness by Jesus Christ.

Chambers further describes individuality as the ‘husk’ of the personal life. As a husk must be peeled off to reveal the ear of corn, so individuality must be peeled off to reveal the true personality. Individuality hinders the spiritual life more than anything else. Individuality is capable of refusing to believe even that which it knows to be true.


I once proved a point on a series of emails to a very well known radio talk show host who admitted that my arguments were persuasive and had merit, but, he said, “I will not believe.” His decision was made in his "will." That’s individuality – spitting in the face of truth for reasons known only to the individual.

My next post will discuss personality and what to do with individuality. Hope you will read it and comment.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Going Deep (The Receiver)

Be sure to read the other two postings on Going Deep before reading this one.

The wide receiver is always the recipient of the long-bomb. He must get behind his opponent to get free enough to be in position to catch the pass when the Quarterback throws it. Then he must catch the pass. If he does, it’s a great move forward for the team.

Our Quarterback frequently throws us passes that are missed, dropped or intercepted, simply because we were not listening in the huddle, or not paying attention on the field.

Listening in the huddle is absolutely vital, not just for the wide receiver, but for the whole team. If one member misses his assignment or misses the count, the whole team suffers. When we don’t take the time to pray each morning and each time we enter a situation where the Holy Spirit is needed, then the whole Kingdom of God suffers for our missed assignment.

Praying must not only include petitioning prayer but listening prayer. If in my whole life I can only motivate you to do one thing, I pray that one thing would be to listen to God in prayer – even when He is not speaking. Things happen in prayer that are far beyond our ability to understand. “Be still and know that I am God.”

After the huddle we can walk out confidently. If we haven’t heard specific instructions then we can know that we are in God’s will and can continue on the way we are going. That is not always downfield. Sometimes when a quarterback is in trouble, the wide receivers will break-off pattern and double back toward the line of scrimmage to make an easier target for a pass. While they would appear to going in the wrong direction, they may yet save the day – no long-bomb, but perhaps a first down.

Sometimes, I think it is necessary for us to go into what we might perceive as negative territory in order to undo some problem from our past. That God allowed me to suffer a deep depression, then, as I was beginning to come out of it, I relapsed into a far worse case of depression, anxiety and social phobia. I had still not dealt with my pride, not had I repented of my lack of faith, though God was giving me every opportunity.

My lack of faith boiled down to idol worship. My faith was in money and when we had money problems, my anxiety increased exponentially. I had more faith in mammon than in God. When you have lived at various times in great poverty, it is hard to put your faith in God rather than money, even though I tested Him and He was always faithful when I did. But God will not be faithful when you are worshipping a false idol. Repentance is the only solution here, and you can be sure your repentant heart will be tested.

Pride is more insidious. It is not just the self-image of the exceptional public servant that plagued me, but there was also an image of the exceptional Christian. I wanted to be seen and known as a man of God. I still do. That’s not so bad on the one hand because we should all want to be a man or woman of God. My problem was that I wanted to be seen as such. That’s pride. From a loveless childhood of abandonment and abuse, I developed a need to be wanted and to be admired.

It has been a struggle for me to accept that God wanted me so much that He sent His Son to suffer and die for me. Understanding love when you grew up without it does not come easily. But it boils down to trusting God. Lord, help me my unbelief. Help me to receive the love that You threw to me in the end zone when Jesus died and rose again. It was no Hail Mary pass, but a pin-point accurate bomb right into my numbers.

Lord, I have trusted you many times before and You have often amazed me with your responses. Help me to trust You totally and completely with everything in my life, with all that I have, all that I will be, and with whatever may come both in this life and in Eternity.

Going Deep (The Pass)

Please read, Going Deep (The Audible) before reading this. This is part 2 of what will be a 3 part search deep into my heart. I pray that it will help you to examine yourself and eventually draw you much closer to Christ.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” OK, so now I have to admit that I had some sins that needed to be dealt with, but what were they? Certainly my priorities were off centre – working far too much when my family was collapsing around me. The following spring we had to give up custody of our foster child who we cared for for 11 years since her birth. Looking after all of her special needs, as well as looking after my suicidal wife and sons should have been an easy decision to take some time off work, or to, at least reduce my hours. But reducing my hours was not on the table.

Having been in the Public Service for many years, I was determined not to become one of those stereotypical civil servants who just do their job and don’t give any extra. I always gave service that was exceptional, or, at least, always tried to. It was so ingrained into my self-image that when it became impossible in my position as Superintendent of Climate Services for the Pacific and Yukon Region of Environment Canada, I began to work longer and longer hours to try to get the work done. It didn’t work.

At one point my boss told me that I just had to get used to the idea that I can’t give the quality of service that I want to. He was right, of course, but that struck right at the heart of my image of myself. That is precisely when I cracked.

Self-image is a powerful force in our lives, and unfortunately, it is often supported and encouraged by those around us. Self-image, however, is not us; it is called by Oswald Chambers – our individuality. He defines individuality as the counterfeit of personality. Personality is who we are; individuality is who we want others to think we are. It is the image we present to the public, but where it wanders from personality, or from reality, it becomes false, negative and even dangerous. Attempting to maintain an image that is either impossible or untrue can have disastrous results – my life stands as an example.

Where was the disparity between my individuality and my personality? None, I truly had a desire to please my customers. The disparity was between my individuality and reality. The reality was I didn’t have sufficient resources to give exceptional service and needed to settle for mediocre service at best. My individuality, championed by my pride, refused to accept such a fate. There was my problem in a nutshell – pride. Pride was all tangled up in my self-image, my individuality, and it was pride that did me in. It took a long time for me to see that.

I also came to see that in my dependence on overtime to keep us financially afloat that I had stopped relying on God for my provision. We had relied on Him many times and He had always provided. His provision was never excessive but always enough and always when it was needed – like a short pass for a first down when you are 3rd and 15. Now, when I probably needed Him most, I counted on my own ability to provide for our needs. Having no faith in my receivers, I replaced the Quarterback with myself, tried the quarterback sneak and came up a long ways short.

Part 3 of this series will be posted shortly.


Going Deep (The Audible)

Going deep in a football game is the most exciting play there is. Going deep for a Christian is about as far as you can get from joy and excitement, but is as necessary as the occasional long-bomb is to a football game.

What is ‘going deep’ for a Christian? It is looking beyond the surface into your heart, your motivations, you very will. More than 12 years ago I shook my fist at God and asked Him why. My wife had been bed-ridden for a few months and was suicidal; we had an adopted daughter with many special needs and very little help; we had two sons in high school; and I was working and commuting 60-70 hours a week.

Naturally, I blamed God for my circumstances. But God’s response was both immediate and unsympathetic. “You have not yet suffered unto blood!” This struck me like a cold, wet towel across the face. I thought of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He suffered emotionally, perhaps worse than the physical suffering He endured on the cross. His agony caused Him to sweat great drops of blood. I was immediately convicted of my insignificant sufferings and my audacity to complain about them.

Then I remembered the rest of the verse. In the NAS version, Hebrews 12:4 reads, You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” Oh dear, this didn’t sound good at all. There seemed to be an insinuation that I would be required to strive against sin to the point of shedding blood, or, at least, to the point of no longer sinning. But I was a good person; there were no overt sins in my life. I went to church every week, I tithed, I prayed, I read my Bible, I didn’t do pornography or any other obvious sin that I could think of.

It did occur to me that my priorities were a little off with working too much, but I was stuck between financial needs and not nearly enough time at the office to do all the work I had to do. So instead of taking some time and praying about what God had been trying to tell me, I just continued on until I was exhausted. A couple months later, my mind simply shut-down. I was no longer able to concentrate or to multi-task; my short-term memory was gone. That was 12 years ago, and I still suffer from those symptoms today.

A few weeks later I went on sick leave, went home, and fell into a severe depression. A year later, I was referred to Ricardo, a man with a prayer ministry and an extraordinary gift of discernment. He led me to the Lord! That I had been a practicing Christian, with many amazing answers to prayer for 20 years, didn’t deter him one bit. Funny thing though, at that moment I suddenly became intensely interested in the Bible and have been ever since.

Had God left me? That’s blasphemy to some people who believe such a thing is impossible. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (See my blog with that very scripture for the title). The scripture was a promise that was, in fact, dependent upon the early Hebrews obedience. When they disobeyed, as in the rebellion at Kadesh Barnea, and as Achan did at Jericho, God withdrew his hand from them, and they were severely defeated in battle.

Had God left me? Or did He do as He did with Job and allowed Satan certain freedoms to test me? If He didn’t leave me, why did Ricardo’s leading me back to Christ have such an effect? Unfortunately, I cannot answer those questions yet, perhaps someday. Please read my next blog, Going Deep (The Pass).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pre-trib Rapture Assaulted Again

In John 17:15 Jesus was praying for His disciples. He prayed, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”


My view on the rapture is not pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib. If there is a rapture, it will occur either when Jesus returns or there may be a very limited pre-wrath rapture. Pre-tribbers believe that the entire Great Tribulation is the day of God’s wrath and so pre-wrath must be pre-trib. 

One in the field will be taken and one left
But there is very good reason to believe that the testing that the letter to the church at Philadelphia refers to is, in fact, at the end of the Tribulation not the entirety of it. How so?


In Rev 6: 16,17 after the 6th seal has been opened, the great kings and leaders of the earth are found hiding in caves and calling on the mountains to fall on them tohide us from the Presence of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand.


So those who had been through the majority of the Tribulation did not see it as God’s wrath until nearly the end of the period. That calls into question the interpretation of the timing of Revelation and there are several differing viewpoints. 

It makes no sense, however, to read it as a linear time-series, that is, chronological. But rather, it makes the most sense to read it as a series of view-points. 

Pastor Daymor Moses equates it with watching replays of a football game. You have a camera on the quarterback, another on the running back, one on each of the wide receivers, one on the lines, etc., and each shows a different perspective of the same brief time-span. 

This is more or less how I have come to understand the timing as well, although it is not necessarily understandable at all.

With that in mind, the 6th seal and the great day of the wrath of God and the Lamb comes very late in the Tribulation period. Let’s look at another perspective:
1 Cor 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. These things refers to the Exodus story of the Israelites. “Upon whom the ends of the ages have come,” is us. 

Therefore, those of us in the last days are to study the Exodus story for wisdom and revelation. And what do we find there?


We find the wrath of God coming upon Egypt (a type of the world), as Moses seeks permission to lead his people out of bondage. We see ten plagues that God inflicts upon the land of Egypt, many of which are quite devastating. 

What happens to the Israelites (a type of us) during this time? They are protected through most of the plagues.


When Aaron turned the Nile into blood, Moses had advance notice and may have warned the Israelites to store up drinking water. They may have suffered through the frogs and the gnat infestation, but then God separated them from the Egyptians for the rest of the plagues - I will put a division between My people and your people. Ex 8:23. 

They did not suffer the swarms of insects, their livestock were not afflicted, they did not get the boils the Egyptians suffered, nor the hail storms.


It is not obvious that the Israelites escaped from the plague of locusts, but I think it likely. However, I think it unlikely that they missed the plague of darkness that covered the land for 3 days. 

And, of course, they were saved from the final plague, the death of the first-born, by the covering of the blood on their houses. This is a foreshadowing of the covering of the blood of Christ on Christians. And yet, they were still in the land!
It was only after this most terrible judgment that Moses (the type of Christ) led the Israelites out of Egypt. And then what happened? God’s final judgment on Egypt occurred at the Red Sea. 

The Israelites miraculously crossed the Red Sea just before the Egyptian army is destroyed in it. If that isn’t a clear picture of the Great Tribulation, I don’t know what is?

People, we need to prepare ourselves to go through the Great Tribulation. Putting our hope on the fairytale of a pre-trib rapture will not get you ready. 

I believe most Christians will escape a lot of the judgments that will come upon the earth during those horrific 7 years, but I also believe that most Christians alive during the Great Tribulation will be martyred. 

Are you ready to be martyred? Or are you hoping for a fairytale ending?
(see also: The Rapture – Hope or Hype)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Inevitable Middle-East War

In 2008, I first wrote about the likelihood of Israel striking Iran’s nuclear program and the possibility of it precipitating an Islamic/Russian war against Israel. Such a war is described in great detail in Ezekiel 38 & 39, and a study of those two chapters of the Bible make very compelling reading in light of today’s geopolitical landscape.

 I suggested that unexpected consequences could result in a dramatic condemnation of Israel, even by the US. I also suggested that in order for such a war to occur that the US would have to abstain from supporting their Israeli allies. I said this would be possible because of a change in the US leadership’s attitude toward Israel, or due to a complete financial failure of the US.

Yesterday, Russia refused to allow UN sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program despite the UNs IAEA declaring that Iran was most likely preparing to make nuclear weapons. Since Iran has promised to wipe Israel off the map, then we can only conclude that Russia is in favour of such a catastrophe. Russia has recently made a military alliance with Iran and should Israel attack Iran, Russia would almost automatically be at war with Israel.

Will the US abandon its long-time ally in its greatest hour of need? This is what the US Secretary of Defence had to say today about attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities:
"You've got to be careful of unintended consequences here," Mr Panetta told reporters in Washington, when asked about his concerns about a military strike.

He acknowledged military action might fail to deter Iran "from what they want to do".
"But more importantly, it could have a serious impact in the region, and it could have a serious impact on US forces in the region," he said.

He further suggested that it would only delay Iran’s nuclear ambitions by 3 years at the most. His plan is to use the toughest possible sanctions against Iran. Since Russia has veto power in the UN, it will mean the US will not have a lot of support in applying sanctions. And since the leadership of Iran believes they have been called to create complete chaos in the world to pave the way for the Mahdi, there is little doubt that they will use nuclear weapons on Israel, if, and when, they can.
The Mahdi, the prophesied redeemer of Islam, will, according to prophecy, accompany the antichrist of the New Testament. (That would make him the Beast or the False Prophet.) The Mahdi will be a descendant of the daughter of Mohammed. This is where it gets really interesting. The daughter’s name was Fatimah after whom the little city of Fatima, Portugal was named. You’ve heard of Fatima, that is where the Virgin Mary was supposed to have appeared to three children in 1917. Curious, huh?

According to Christian prophecy, the US will abandon Israel; Russia and Islam will attack Israel with conventional weapons, and God will intervene and destroy the Russian and Islamic forces. Israel will survive; Islam and Russia will be severely crippled, which, eventually, will open the doors for the Chinese to invade, 200 million strong, in what will be the real Armageddon.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Heaven

This is an excerpt from a presentation I made to a senior's lunch at The Park Church, Sherwood Park, AB, on Oct 20, 2011.

Do you think much about Heaven? We don’t really know much about it, but there are lots of things we can learn from scriptures. For instance, the Heaven that we will go to when we die is not our final destination; the New Jerusalem is. Heaven will be re-birthed (as it were) into the New Jerusalem which will come down out of heaven to the earth.
What do we know about the New Jerusalem? Well, we know there will be no need of sun or moon because the Glory of the risen Christ will be the light. Last winter, and I apologize for using this as an example, Pat and I were in San Diego and Palm Springs while Edmonton suffered through one of its worst winters ever. I would often look on the internet at the -30 and -40 deg wind chills in Edmonton and then step out into the warm, desert sun and it would feel sooo good.
Have you ever gotten on a plane in Edmonton in the middle of winter and landed somewhere tropical. Doesn’t the sun feel great when you first get there? Imagine how good it is going to feel when we are in the light of the glorified Son of God. It will be a thousand times better. It will not only be warm and bright, but we will literally be able to feel the love and peace that emanates from the Prince of Peace. It will be an indescribably beautiful feeling, and the closer we are to Him the more beautiful it will feel.
There are many other wonderful things we can learn about the New Jerusalem, like the River of the Water of Life and the Tree of Life – magical, wonderful things; all of which pale in comparison to just being in the proximity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course there are many questions like, ‘How can something that big fit on the earth without causing it to wobble crazily like a drunken sailor?’ The New Jerusalem will be about 1400 miles cubed. That’s roughly from Vancouver to Winnipeg north beyond Great Slave Lake, and 1400 miles high. I can’t even imagine something that high.
The CN Tower in Toronto is 1815 feet tall. The Burj Khalifa, or Khalifa Tower in Dubai, UAE, is the tallest structure in the world. It reaches to 2717 feet, 77feet above half a mile. Look at it, it’s extraordinary. Yet the New Jerusalem will be 2800 times higher.                                                                          Burj Khalifa >
So the earth will have to change shape if it’s going to spin, possibly even go to relatively flat. The sun and moon will become redundant and so may cease to exist. Of course I’m speculating wildly here, but the Bible does say that there will be no more sea. If you know the water cycle, you will know that without the moisture from the sea evaporating into the air, and without the salt from the sea being carried up into the air to become the nucleus for the moisture to condense on, there can be no real precipitation.
Did Dolly tell you I’m a retired weatherman? Of course you were going to get a weather report from Heaven? Sonny and dry. Plants and animals will be fed from springs or dew as in the Garden of Eden, or from the River which flows from Throne of God.
It’s entirely possible that animals will be able to talk, again speculation, but we know there are animals in Heaven and there will be animals on the New Earth; friendly animals that won’t bite you. There will be no biting or stinging insects. There will be lots of birds, but they will not drop anything on you.
Will we be able to eat meat in Heaven? Probably not. Mind you God made a distinction between wild animals and domestic livestock when he created them in the Garden, but it’s pretty unlikely that, killing animals to eat them will carry on into Eternity. More likely God will create other kinds of foods that will be simply amazing.
We won’t have to worry about diabetes or being overweight or having bad knees or anxiety or cancer, or any of the thousands of debilitating diseases that plague us now. We will have new bodies that will be young by comparison for us; they will be healthy, without the many severe limitations we now have, and they will be virtually indestructible.
Furthermore, our minds will be clear and sharp. Boy, am I looking forward to that. We will have things to do and people to see. The Bible says we will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Imagine sitting down to dinner with Moses, or Ruth, or Joseph, or Esther, or Paul. Or, how about Augustine, Thomas a Kempis, Luther, Theresa of Avila, John, Charles & Susanna Wesley, Spurgeon, CS Lewis, Watchman Nee, Billy & Ruth Graham, etc. etc.
Wouldn’t it be fun to sit in on a conversation with David and Jonathon?
We could listen to Beethoven or Handl with an angelic choir; can you imagine the Hallelujah Chorus sung by a thousand angels? Or we could listen to Keith Green with a guitar. We could all join the Gaithers in praising the Lord.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Does the prayer of faith always result in healing?

I have friends who believe that, or should I say, I had friends who believe it. When I dared to question their belief they chose not to speak to me again. Curious reaction – they were either unable or unwilling to defend their belief.

What is the prayer of faith? Is it demanding that God heal someone? Or is it asking God to heal someone but adding the caveat, “nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done?” Many will say that adding the caveat is copping out – if the person isn’t healed then it’s God’s will. Of course, what’s wrong with that?

They will then say that it is always God’s will to heal the sick. “By His stripes we are healed,” they quote. Aside from applying a generality to specific situations, they miss the point that if that were always the case, then those with a gift of faith would never die. They would simply pray the prayer of faith demanding the God heal them and they can never die, unless death sneaks up on them while they’re not looking. Nor do they realize that by not including the caveat, that they are raising their will above God’s; God’s will is unacceptable in this case.

Sometimes God will yield to the will of His servants and grant them what they ask. He did that for Hezekiah, one of the most godly kings ever to reign in Judah. He granted him another 15 years of life after his appointed time. If the faith healers had been present they would have hailed this as a great example of how faith healing works.

But then 15 years later Hezekiah died and Menasseh ruled Judah. Menasseh was the most evil king ever to rule Judah or Israel. He destroyed all the good works his father had done and then some. He sacrificed two of his own children to a pagan god, holding them over the altar and slitting their throats. Charles Price says he was demon possessed.

How does this all tie together? Menasseh was 12 years old when he came to the throne. He was born after Hezekiah’s appointed time, and all of Judah paid a very heavy price for Hezekiah’s selfish prayer. Be careful what you pray for; you may unleash terrible consequences.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Millennium


The Millennium, or The Millennial Reign

I’m hoping to open a discussion on this subject, so if you have any opinions or questions please respond in the ‘comments’ section. Where you disagree with something, please provide scripture references to support your argument. Thanks.

What is the Millennium?               
It is a one thousand year period on earth that immediately follows the return of Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation. On Christ’s return Satan is bound for 1000 years (Rev 20:2) and effectively nullified until the end of the period when he will be loosed and allowed to foment one final rebellion involving Gog and Magog (Rev 20:7,8).

What will it be like?
During that time – and it is not definite that we are talking a literal 1000 years – Christ will reign on earth. Scriptures indicate that there will be peace; that the wolf will lie down with the lamb, the lion will eat grass, and children will play near snakes without fear of being bitten (Isaiah 11:6-8; 65:25). However, I am not clear whether these scriptures refer to the Millennium or the resurrected earth. Such things sound as though the Curse has been lifted which does not happen until the end of the Millennium and God resurrects the New Heaven and the New Earth. (Matthew Henry’s commentary affirms that the second reference has to do with the New Earth, but the first certainly appears to be in line with the Millennium Reign.) For more on the New Heaven and New Earth see: Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1.
                                                     
Who will be there?
Everyone who survives the Great Tribulation will be there, at least in the beginning. It is likely that those people will continue to have limited life-spans and will die of natural causes – for the most part. They will be replaced by their children and grand-children, etc. It is also clear that those who are martyred for Christ will also be there. They will reign with Him for the entire period (Rev 20:4).

Most Evangelical Christians teach that all the saints will also reign with Christ during this period – I have not found scripture to support this, or even that saints who were not martyred are even present, except those few who are likely to survive the Great Tribulation (Rev 20:5). Feel free to correct me here…

Will there be sin?
Those people – probably half or more of the world’s population – who enter live into the Millennium will still have a sin nature that they will almost certainly pass on to their children (hence, they will not live the entire 1000 years). Consequently, sin will exist but not at the intensity with which it flourishes today. While Satan will be bound (that he would not deceive the nations any longer- Rev 20:3), there is no indication of anything happening to the demons during this period. They may still be able to cause afflictions, or they may simply try to fly under the radar until their leader returns. But it seems clear that their influence will be greatly diminished if not completely muted.

Regardless, the Bible says that Jesus will rule with a rod of iron. If there were no sin, He would not need to rule with a rod of iron, but also, there will be very little tolerance for sin. Furthermore, Truth will be taught in schools and all through society with little opposition from people influenced by evil. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9). Also, there will not be the constant pull of the media toward the lusts of the flesh. Today’s pornographic society will be destroyed.


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Angry Christian - Where does anger fit into the Christian life?

How many times have you seen a self-professed Christian lose their temper and, along with it, their witness? It’s a disappointing thing to watch a Christian get angry at something as insignificant as a poor score in bowling, or golf, or something else that is important only to them. Such anger is ego-fed and a sure sign of serious pride.

Personally, I have problems with my own limitations. A serious breakdown at Y2K has severely limited my short-term memory and concentration. I went from being able to juggle a half dozen things at once to a near complete inability to multi-task. When distracted, I often totally forget what I was doing. This leads to no end of frustrating do-overs and embarrassing moments.

Sometimes this gets to me, and I have a moment of anger, often followed by a moment or two of self-pity. Self-pity, I know for sure, is sin, and I am immediately convicted and repent, then get on with my life.

Some self-professed Christians will lose it when something happens that is out of their control. These may be control oriented people who cannot surrender control of their lives to Jesus Christ. This calls into question their very relationship with Him since, if He were truly Lord of our lives, we would surrender completely to His providential permission.

Things are always going to happen that are out of our control. We have to trust that God is still in those circumstances, and they will ultimately turn out for good. Not trusting God in all circumstances is due to a lack of faith. Remember, it is by grace through faith that we are saved.

How can good come out of my weaknesses? I still have a great testimony of the many extraordinary things that God has done in my life. Also, I know that when I am speaking, or singing, to a group, the Holy Spirit is with me. He also, occasionally, gives me words of knowledge, sometimes with stunning results. If I, being dumb as a post, can be used by God for His glory and purposes, then I need to embrace my disabilities.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor