"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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Being Loved by God

On Feb26th, 2012, Pope Benedict tweeted: "If only everyone could experience the joy of being Christian, being loved by God who gave his Son for us!"

Yet even this simple, lovely prayer resulted in no-end of criticism, such as: " God loves everybody!"

Does God love everybody? Can that generality be applied to every single individual? God hated Esau and refused to forgive him though he sought it with tears.

But the big issue here is not whether God loves all of us, but whether we experience that love. If love is only a feeling then we can never know God's love. But with God's love - love is an action verb. He commands us to love our neighbours by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, visiting the shut-ins, and clothing the naked.

When we 'experience' the joy of being loved by God, it is like being looked after by a loving neighbour. He takes care of our needs. He blesses us and you can feel His blessings and, at times, His very presence.

When you 'know' the Son of God for Who He really is, then you can 'experience' the love of God. Until then it is just a concept.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Apocalypse - Will it Come Soon?

A lot of Christians are talking in apocalyptic terms these days. This is not that unusual at the turn of a century or after a major catastrophe like 911. But the Mayan calendar is behind us and yet the number of Christians thinking apocalyptically has been only increasing. Why?

There are ‘prophets’ in the church, some of whom are predicting events on a biblical scale happening soon. Now, prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and I have no doubt that they exist in today’s church. But just as in biblical times there are an abundance of false prophets these days. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard prophecies of world-wide revival starting in the little church in which I was standing. So far, they haven’t happened yet. So I’m reluctant to believe most prophecies that I hear or come across on the internet.

The situation with Iran and Israel as documented in “2013 The Scariest Year Yet” lends some considerable weight to the fear of ‘The Great Tribulation’ beginning sooner rather than later. The Great Tribulation (see my post be the same name) is described in the Bible as 7 years of hell on earth as the Antichrist rules much of the earth and many, if not most Christians have their faith tried and tested and will probably be martyred. Sound like fun so far?

Many Christians believe that God will ‘beam them up’ like Scotty before things get rough. It is called ‘The Rapture’ and it is based on rather flimsy evidence from the Bible. If it occurs, I believe, it will be very limited, including only those whose faith need not be tested. Most of us Christians will enter the Great Tribulation but will not survive it.

Most recently, two things have occurred to spark interest in the Apocalypse. One – Pope Benedict resigned. The Catholic Church has prophecies by an Irish Archbishop – St Malachy, who lived in the northern part of Ireland in the 12th century. He wrote prophecies describing every Pope that would ever reign over the church beginning with Celestine II. What is scary is that the last Pope prophesied would become the False Prophet of Revelation, and would pave the way for the Antichrist.

What’s scarier is that the next Pope, the one they will be selecting in the next few weeks, is almost certainly, that last Pope. St Malachy called him Peter Romanus. Some believe that he will assume the name Pius XIII. There are also prophecies coming from other religions that coincide somewhat with St Malachy’s.

The second recent event is the spectacular crashing of a meteorite in Russia followed hours later by an asteroid sliding past the earth 1/10 the distance between here and the moon, and inside the orbit of several of our satellites. Large meteorites are predicted to strike the earth during the Great Tribulation causing great damage to a third of the earth. A scientist on the news just today called these events ‘warnings’ of possible future calamities. That was a scientist, not a theologian.

In Acts 2, the Apostle Peter quotes the Prophet Joel from the Old Testament saying, “I will pour my Spirit out in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath; blood and fire and vapor of smoke.”

And it gets worse before it gets better, “The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2013 – The Scariest Year yet?

There can be little question that 2013 is the most frightening year since 1962. In ’62 the threat of nuclear war hung over the entire world as President Kennedy stared down Nikita Khrushchev for weeks before the Russian president blinked. Our high school teachers were telling us to hide under our desks in the event of a nuclear attack; or, if we were at home, to hide under a sheet to protect us from the fall-out. Even as children we knew how absurd this was.

The 911 attack in 2001 was a complete surprise and while shocking as can be, the only fear came afterward and quickly dissipated as it became apparent that Al Qaeda had no more major surprises in it’s arsenal of murder and mayhem.

What is happening in 2013 that is so riveting to those of us who pay attention to world events? 2013 is the year Iran gets a nuclear bomb. Iran is run by Muslim fanatics (read lunatics) who believe they were sent by Allah to pave the way for the 12th Imam who will bring peace and Muslim rule to the entire earth. However, the road to be paved is one of complete chaos – it is in the midst of this that 12th Imam, or Mahdi, will come.

Muhammad said:
Our Mahdi will have a broad forehead and a pointed (prominent) nose. He will fill the earth with justice as it is filled with injustice and tyranny. He will rule for seven years
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, [17]
If this sounds a lot like the Biblical Antichrist, it is not a coincidence.
Both the Ayatollah, the spiritual head of the country, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are on board with this belief. Ahmadinejad has promised publicly many times that he will destroy Israel. Destroying Israel and the Jewish people seems to be a common theme among most inherently evil dictators. Although Iran calls itself a democracy it’s most recent elections were condemned as fraudulent. In fact, I doubt that any Muslim country is truly democratic. (For that matter, I have doubts about a lot of ‘Christian’ countries.)

Both American and Israeli intelligence believe that Iran will have nuclear capability by this summer unless something is done to stop or delay them. Just today, the US increased sanctions against Iran - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21361798 but diplomacy has failed to slow them down one little bit. The only good news is that they don’t have an elegant delivery system to launch such a bomb on Israel. They don’t have the long range ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload. That, however, may not be an insurmountable problem as Iran has many maniacal friends in many Muslim countries.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, has promised that Iran will not reach nuclear capability. In 2007, Israel attacked and destroyed a Syrian nuclear facility before it could produce a bomb. That might surprise you for it made remarkably little news in the western world. This means that Israel does not make idle threats. It will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, and it will do so in the next few months. It must!

However, Iran, unlike Syria, has taken extreme cautions to protect their nuclear research stations. They have several all over the country and some are buried under mountains where most conventional weapons cannot touch them. How Israel plans to overcome this obstacle is beyond me, but I have little doubt that they will.

What the consequences of an Israeli strike or strikes on Iran will be is where the fear comes in. Will Iran unleash an all-out war on Israel? How many allies will join her? Russia is an ally of Iran; will the great bear also come against Israel? Will the US defend her? Some believe the answers to these questions are in Ezekiel 38 and 39 which describe a war where all of Islam plus, probably, Russia, attack Israel. But it is not the US that comes to Israel’s defense, it is Christ Who destroys the attacking forces and preserves His chosen people.

I am not convinced that Ezekiel 38 and 39 are for this time period, but if it is, all hell is going to break loose in the middle east and the world will be a very different place afterward. If the 12th Imam (Antichrist) does emerge, then we will enter that 7 year period called the Great Tribulation when the world becomes a more horrible place than it ever was or than we could ever imagine it.

I am not saying that this is all going to happen in 2013, but the wheels will be set in motion. When Iran and/or other Islamic countries attack Israel may still be some years away, or maybe not.

Now having read this, we can all go back to watching the mindless myriad of television shows. We can get the spit scared out of us with horror movies, as if there isn't enough real horror in the world. We can play video games where we run around killing people and things when there are real people with real guns doing more than enough of that. We can focus our lives on entertaining ourselves and miss the entire reason for our existence.

But we will all stand before God one day and give an accounting for what we did with our time and talents. Are you ready for that?