Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wake Up, You Live in The Matrix #1 - Evolution?

Wake up, you live in The Matrix.

I'm going to put this bluntly because the hour is late. If you get your perception of reality from universities, mainstream media (e.g. ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times), mainstream churches and "conventional wisdom," then you have little idea about what is really happening in this world. You have been misinformed about critical past and current events. Moreover, you will be completely caught off guard by what is about to happen. You will be deceived, manipulated, robbed and knocked off your feet to the jeopardy of even life and soul.

Let me give a small example. Do you believe in evolution? The evolutionary theory is taught as as settled fact in schools, universities and mainstream media. But the reality is evolution is a joke, an absurdity from a scientific standpoint. It has been disproved a dozen different ways, and I'm not talking about religious objections. I mean hard science and mathematics. In fact, I believe Charles Darwin himself, if he were still alive today, would reject evolution out of hand. If you don't believe me, watch the video called The Theory of Everything by Trey Smith. 

Yet evolution is portrayed by smart, educated people as fact. Why? Because we have had the wool pulled over our eyes, and the people doing it do not have good intentions. 

So the question is: Will you wake up? It takes courage and an open mind. The scene from the movie The Matrix about choosing the red pill or blue pill puts it very well.

Meanwhile, if you want a peak at where this blog series is going, watch this video by Dr. Stanley Monteith.


See the next post in this series, The Economic End Game.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Story, Part Two: From Lost to Found Again!

[For the first half of this story, see Lost to Found to Lost Again]

Pang of Mortality

It was a summer day in the Swiss Alps. After riding up the mountain in a gondola, my wife and I took in the spectacular views of the peaks and valleys and blue lake below. In the sky above a paraglider had caught a thermal updraft and wound his way above the mountains. He seemed to be floating as high as the airplanes. The thought of hanging so high by a few cords beneath a piece of fabric made me shiver.

We hiked around the top of the mountain. At one point the path straddled a ledge that dropped off steeply on both sides. I looked down and felt such a sense of vertigo that I had to crouch down and touch the ground. In fact, it was more than vertigo. It was a palpable fear of death. What if I slipped down the slope and died? What would happen to me? That question begged a larger one. Where did I stand with the Lord?

I had put faith in God to the side for a few years, though not completely. I still prayed and went to church sometimes and claimed to be a Christian. But Jesus was not front and center. I pursued my own interests and tried to enjoy life. The unexpected pang of mortality on the mountainside was his way of calling me back.  I thought about it for a long while on the train ride back to town in the evening. I wanted to reconnect with God again. But how?

By My Spirit, Says the Lord

I began to seek God again. Authors like Brennan Manning and John Eldredge and the musician Rich Mullins spoke to me. Manning’s prose about the infinite love and grace of God was like balm for my soul. It began to thaw my heart to his love again. Eldredge’s “wild at heart” freedom and manly passion in the Lord and his sense of immediate connection and communion with God’s Spirit were qualities I wanted. Rich Mullins’ soulful praise and the melancholic yearning in his music also resonated with me.

In the Scriptures I saw how we are supposed to live by the Spirit – not by law, intellect or personal strength, but by God’s Spirit alone. It is his Spirit who leads us into all truth. Furthermore, the Scriptures say God desires mercy, not sacrifice. In other words, he wants his people to love from the heart, not thoughtlessly or heartlessly follow religious rules. Jesus also said his sheep hear his voice, and they follow him. We can hear God’s voice, personally and directly, in our hearts! I saw these truths in Scripture and wanted to embrace them, but it was slow going to put them into practice. It took years and years to unlearn bad religious ideas from earlier in my faith, and then put on the new way of the Spirit.

Goodbye, Plan A

Meanwhile, I graduated from business school and eventually landed a job at EMC, a highly regarded technology company. I thought I had it made. The company’s stock was one of the two hottest of the 1990s. This was a place where I could build a career and be successful! Two years after I joined, the dotcom bubble imploded, causing the technology downturn of 2001. I worked in a group in the marketing department. When the company announced layoffs, my manager took me aside and said, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” A couple weeks later, he passed me in the hallway looking concerned and said, “They let me go.” All bets were off for me, then. HR called me to a meeting and offered a modest severance package. A few hours later I walked out the door carrying a cardboard box with my office effects. My career at the vaunted technology company was over. I called my wife on the way home and said, “The good news is I don’t have to go to work tomorrow…”

We were in the middle of purchasing a house. However, I was the sole income earner, so my job loss meant we no longer qualified for a mortgage. The house purchase fell through. Eventually we moved to an apartment in a less savory part of town to save money while I looked for another job.

Meanwhile, our marriage became very strained. For years my wife had a problem with rage that had worsened with time. When we argued, she could carry on for literally hours, screaming, getting in my face, speaking abusively.  She was so loud that neighbors could hear. On more than one occasion she screamed at and hit me while I was driving, once while traveling 75 mph on the highway. It was lucky I didn’t get in a wreck. When I lost my job and money was running out, she became furious and indignantly opposed to getting a job, despite having a college degree and work experience. She moped around the apartment sobbing while I tried to work from home on entrepreneurial projects.  She told me that if I didn’t do what she wanted, she might kill herself and it would be my fault. I believe she had borderline personality disorder, but only showed this side to people close to her, i.e. mother, father, sister, me. At church she seemed the involved, caring Christian. With therapists she was shrewd and evasive. But at home the dark side came out, like Jekyll and Hyde.

These outbursts had occurred for years, but losing my job was sort of a tipping point into the abyss. She was destroying me emotionally, and unrepentant about it. If we ever had kids, I knew she would crush them too. I knew that staying in this marriage would mean an unhappy life and probably a premature death from the cumulative psychological toll on my body.

As an evangelical Christian I thought divorce is a sin, except in the case of infidelity. This is why I stayed in the marriage for nearly 10 years. But I reached a point where I had to separate, and felt at peace with the decision. I left to stay at a friend’s house. During the following couple of months I sought the Lord on the matter and felt my heart moving toward divorce. I was 95% sure until I had a conversation with a Christian pastor whose father also had borderline personality disorder. He explained, with great pain in his eyes, how his father had become so abusive that he had to cut off the relationship. I knew the Lord meant for me to hear this, and I knew that I needed to divorce my wife.

Two Supernatural Nights

On the night after I told my wife about my intent to divorce, I fell asleep and was seized by what some describe as a “night terror.” These are incidents of demons harassing people in their sleep, often accompanied by horrifying dreams, a sense of paralysis or pressure on the chest, and waking up the presence of evil in the room. I had experienced this before and knew that calling out to Jesus would force it to leave (see Luke 10:19). But this terror had a message for me: “How dare you!” How dare I divorce my wife! That was astonishing. The devil was chastising me for daring to close the door he was using to attack me.

The next night I had a dream from the Lord. I don’t remember my dreams normally, except occasionally for a few moments after awaking. But prophetic dreams are emblazoned in my memory for life. In the dream I saw a beautiful woman. I awoke and intuitively knew what the Lord was telling me: “I have someone else for you.” This brought me great comfort and encouragement because I never wanted to go through life alone.

Job’s Friends

One Sunday I went to a Starbucks coffee shop and read the book of Job. I noted all of the bad religious advice that Job’s friends gave him during his time of distress and loss. “You must have done something wrong to deserve this,” they told Job. “Just admit it.” I also saw how God’s anger was kindled against them and they were required to offer a sacrifice and ask Job to pray for them. In my spirit I sensed the Lord tell me this would happen to me. People would come to give bad religious advice.

Sure enough, they came that week. Christians from my past – a pastor, a ministry leader, a friend’s father – called to pressure me not to divorce. They said it was a sin, disobedience to God. I disagreed.

As an aside, I do not claim divorce is good, and can be a sin, but it can also be deliverance. While marriage is meant for a lifetime, people can abuse and dishonor it. Sleeping around is not the only form of abuse – there are many forms. Sometimes people use marriage as a way to lock someone in to cage of abuse, with the social pressure and enforcement of the church. This is wrong. God in his mercy sets people free. I know he did for me. “A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.” (Isaiah 42:3) For more commentary on divorce, see the Addendum below. Also see We Live by the Spirit, Not by Law and Mercy, Not Sacrifice and Faith Hall of Fame.

My ex-wife, who was generally an honest person while we were married, began to spread lies about me, saying I was the abuser and she was the victim. She poisoned the well of virtually every friendship. Not that everyone believed her, but it created doubt and discomfort. She actually gave speeches to Christian groups about her experience as an “abused wife,” which is ironic since I was the one who divorced her. But I suspect that fact is why some church people assumed I was the bad guy in the relationship. If I so flagrantly committed the “sin” of divorce, I must be guilty of other transgressions too, right?

In the end I lost almost every Christian friendship accumulated over 15 years. It wasn’t all because of my ex-wife’s defamation. The perceived spectacular failure of my marriage and faith was a visible reminder that perhaps the evangelical religious system isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. People didn’t want to look at that, so they didn’t want to look at me.

So I lost my job, house, marriage, reputation and Christian community. Do you know what else I lost? My pride. I had a lot of it from my younger days. I was successful in many endeavors and it went to my head. Pride is a sin that blocks the Lord’s work in our lives. Having so much stripped away humbled me.

The Lord Delivers

But I never lost my faith. The Lord was there for me 100% all the way. As things became worse, his work and presence became even more visible. I was finally able to put into practice the truths of Scripture I learned earlier, but was too afraid to make the leap of faith out of the religious system I was indoctrinated into. God pushed me so far out on a limb that I didn’t have a choice!

The Lord also delivered quickly on his promise of someone else for me. I reconnected with a Christian woman I knew from college days who happened to go through a divorce at the same time as me and for a similar reason – emotional abuse. Amazingly, neither of us had children. Today we are happily married and have two beautiful daughters.

Maybe I need to write a Part Three about all the good things God has done in the years since. But my point is this: The Lord never forsook me. He was there all along, called me back and built me up higher than ever. I am eternally grateful for it!



Addendum


Many Christians look at divorce in a strict, black-and-white manner because of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:

It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:31-32

Here Jesus forbids divorce except in the case of adultery, although the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 makes another exception for unbelievers leaving their believing spouses. 

But I want to point out something important in Jesus’ sermon. Immediately prior to the statement on divorce, Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” – Matthew 5:27-30

I don’t know of anyone – though I can only speak for men – whose eye or hand hasn’t caused them to stumble with regard to the sin of lust. I also don’t know of any church that interprets this passage literally, because if people were honest that would mean a church full of eye-less, hand-less attendees. So everyone interprets this statement metaphorically.

Do you see a problem here? Those who say divorce is forbidden except in the case of adultery – no other exceptions – are interpreting one statement by Jesus 100% literally, but then interpreting the statement immediately before it in the same sermon 100% metaphorically.

That's not a consistent approach to interpreting Scripture. It would be wise to step back and ask the Lord what the message here really is.

In reading the whole sermon, Jesus made a series of statements like this: The Law says this, but I say … And then Jesus raised the standard to an incredibly, even impossibly, high level. What is Jesus saying here? That there is a new law that no one can keep?

Let's look at what the Bible says about the purpose of the Law:

But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe… Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” – Galatians 3:22,24

The purpose of the Law is to lead us to Christ – to show us we are sinners, so that we might understand our need for forgiveness and find it in Christ. The Law is a standard that shows us how we ought to be, so that by striving for it and failing, we might realize we need God’s righteousness by faith in the blood of Christ.

The problem – then and now – is that many people think they are good enough and don’t need forgiveness. I bet Jesus in the Matthew 5 sermon was speaking to some people who believed they basically kept the Law, believed they were good enough. So Jesus raised the moral standard so high that no one could possibly say they are good enough. Gotcha! Now you need Jesus.

Back to the question of divorce. God’s perfect standard is that marriage is intended to last a lifetime and we should not divorce. The problem is we live in a fallen world and sometimes people's destructive behavior shreds the fabric of a marriage or is outright dangerous. In mercy there are exceptions for divorce. I don't know what they all are, except in my own case where I brought it to the Lord and He spoke freedom and deliverance.

By the way, if you don’t think there are exceptions, why is Rahab the harlot in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11 for helping the Israelite spies? After all, she hid the spies and lied to the civil authorities about it. The Ten Commandments forbid bearing false witness. Or why is Abraham in the faith hall of fame for being willing to slay his son Isaac? The same commandments forbid murder. Yet these people are recorded in the New Testament as examples of faith to emulate.

Sometimes higher laws are at stake.

Friends, we are called to walk by faith in the Spirit, in love and obedience to God. If you think that merely means keeping some set of rules, whatever you have come to believe they are, you are missing the greater meaning of what it really is to know and walk with God. Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and they follow him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

America Mystery Babylon?

I stumbled upon this exhaustive (ing?) scriptural analysis that identifies "Mystery Babylon" in Revelation 17-18 as America:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/7242015/America-the-Babylon-1

I only skimmed it, but I happen to agree with the conclusion. Some say Mystery Babylon is The Vatican or Mecca in Saudi Arabia. You could make cases for these alternatives, but my peg is on America. We are a fallen nation that has come under God's judgment. The two chapters in Revelation portray what will happen - in the near future, I believe.


If this sounds shocking or you're not certain, ask the Lord for insight and trust he will speak

Just want to mention a few things. In the Bible as in history, the Lord repeats patterns and themes. While past events have meaning in themselves, they may also prefigure events to come. Ultimate fulfillments in the future. For instance, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac on an altar as a test of obedience and at the last moment provided a ram caught in a bush as a substitute. Later God commanded the Israelite nation to make regular sacrifices of goats and other animals to please God and atone for their sins. Finally, in Christ crucified, God provided his own son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins - as a substitute sacrifice for us. So you see the pattern of sacrifice culminating in Christ's sacrifice, who in Revelation is called the "Lamb who was slain."


The original Babylon became the dominant world power under King Nebuchadnezzar after defeating Ancient Egypt in battle. Seventy years later in the fall of 539 BC, Babylon was utterly destroyed by Persia. According to Jeremiah 50-51, this was God's judgment against Babylon for its exceptional wickedness.


America became the dominant world power after defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in the fall of 1945. Seventy years later will be fall of 2015, which is months away.


Another pattern is the number 7. "On the seventh day He rested from all his work." In September 2001, America was hit by terrorism followed by multiple wars. Many believe this was a judgment against America and a plea to turn from wickedness and back to God. Seven years later, in the fall of 2008, America suffered a huge stock market and economic collapse. But the country is only becoming more bankrupt morally and spiritually. Downright satanic, actually. Seven years after that will be the fall of 2015.

You see where I'm going here.

And who is the beast on whom the prostitute of Babylon rides in Revelation 17? The beast who "will make war against the Lamb" and "hates the prostitute" and "will bring her to ruin?" I suspect that man is already doing those things right now, today.


And who is the second beast mentioned in Revelation 13 who "exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast." Later in Revelation the second beast is also called "the false prophet." My eyes are on Pope Francis. President Obama has already met with him twice, once publicly and once privately. The Pope is publicly discussing global warming and Marxism/socialism and aligning Catholic teaching with the beast system. Vatican officials are already talking about welcoming extraterrestrials or aliens as our "brothers." The Pope is already making coy references to baptizing aliens into the Catholic Church: 

 
http://www.smh.com.au/world/pope-says-baptism-for-all--even-martians-20140513-zraqo.html#ixzz31X6KkNKa


Watch for the encyclical the pope is about to unveil at the UN, and what follows. We're heading into an unholy alliance of one-world government and one-world religion. 

"Come out of her, my people... so that you will not receive any of her plagues." - Revelation 18:4
"Flee out of Babylon; leave the land of the Babylonians... for I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north." Jeremiah 50:8-9
"Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins." Jeremiah 51:6


One more thing: There is going to be an exodus of God's remnant out of America prior to its final destruction. Just like the Israelite exodus out of Egypt. Let's all be praying about this.

Real Story of Human History and America

If you want to hear the real, behind-the-scenes story of human history and America in an hour and a half, listen to this lecture by Dr. Stanley Monteith from 2007. It is excellent:

http://beforeitsnews.com/economy/2014/05/must-watch-the-forbidden-secret-dr-stanley-monteith-2618546.html