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Going against God “just for fun”

By Marsha West

Today we’re hearing a lot about Spiritism or Spiritualism, not to be confused with spiritual or spirituality, as in “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” or “I’m into spirituality.” The term Spiritism has replaced what was once called animism and other religious practices involving the invocation of spiritual beings.

Some religions meld Spiritualism with Christianity. For example, a blend of Christian and African folk beliefs that originated in Brazil is now practiced in the U.S. Spiritualism is much the same as Spiritism only it has adopted Christian rites and prayers. People visiting Spiritualistic services can be misled into thinking they’re Christian churches. The problem is Christianity cannot be melded with any other religion or practice.

One of the major tenets of Spiritism is reincarnation. The classic form of reincarnation originated in India in the 9th century BC. Reincarnation has become a hot topic in our post-modern culture.

There are a whole host of beliefs about reincarnation. The most widely touted belief is that upon death one’s spirit exits the body in search of another body to inhabit. Believing in reincarnation gives hope for continuing one’s existence in further lives to work off one’s karma. Karma is broadly defined as the consequences of one’s actions.

Ask professing Christians as they flow through the doors of a Sunday worship service if they believe in reincarnation, some will give you a cavalier “Yes,” as if it’s no big deal for believers to mix Christianity with mystical beliefs. However,

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Madame Guyon: Catholic, Mystic, Apostate

Fundamental Baptist Information Service
P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061,
866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org

David Cloud
First Published March 21, 2001 & Updated June 9, 2004

Used By Permission

The writings of Madame Guyon (1648-1717) are very popular today in evangelical, charismatic, and ecumenical circles. Guyon was a Roman Catholic who had visions and other mystical experiences and wrote about them in her published works.

Guyon wanted to enter a convent when she was a girl but her parents would not allow it and arranged her marriage to a 37-year-old man when she was only 15. It was an unhappy marriage and she turned increasingly to her mystical experiences and a search for “union with God.”

After he husband died in 1676, she gave herself wholly to her mystical pursuits. She joined a group of ascetic Quietist Catholics led by a Barnabite monk named Francios La Combe. She toured parts of France, Switzerland, and Italy for five years with La Combe, from 1681-86. La Combe taught that meditation of God requires a passive (quiet) state of contemplation that goes beyond the level of the conscious thinking process.

Guyon claimed that she went through a series of spiritual states through her mystical experiences. The first, which she called “union of the powers,” lasted eight years. During this time, she felt drawn to God alone and drawn away from people. The second state, which she called “mystical death,” lasted seven years, during which she had a feeling of detachment from God and was plagued with deep mental depression and thoughts of hell and judgment. She frequently had dark, weird dreams, which she considered a form of revelation. In the third state, which she called “the apostolic state,” she claimed that she was absorbed into and united with God. During this time, she preached, but she did not preach the gospel; she preached mystical experiences.

As she fasted to the extreme and often went without sleep, her mystical experiences increased. She experienced what she thought was union with the essence of God. She had mental delusions or demonic visitations such as envisioning “horrible faces in blueish light.” She went into trances, which would leave her unable to speak for days. During some trances, she wrote things that she believed were inspired (Guyon, An Autobiography, p. 321-324). She claimed that she and La Combe could communicate with one another for hours without speaking verbally. She believed she could speak in the language of angels.

In 1688, Madame Guyon was arrested on heresy charges and imprisoned in a convent for several months. In December 1695, she was again imprisoned, this time for seven years. Released in March 1703, she spent the final 15 years of her life on the estate of her son-in-law.

Her work on prayer, “A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer,” was first published in 1685.

THE POPULARITY OF GUYON’S WRITINGS

After her death, Madame Guyon’s works were published by a Dutch Protestant pastor named Poiret. In the 1700s, her books were popular among some Lutherans, Methodists, and Moravians.

For many decades, Moody Press has published an edition of Madam Guyon’s Autobiography. It contains no disclaimer of Guyon’s spiritual and doctrinal errors. In fact, the introduction states, “We offer no word of apology for publishing the autobiography of Madame Guyon, those expressions of devotion to her church, that found vent in her writings.”

At its online web site, Campus Crusade compares Madame Guyon’s Autobiography with John Bunyon’s Pilgrim’s Progress and recommends it without reservation.

On visits to evangelical colleges and seminaries, I have noticed that Madame Guyon’s works are featured prominently in the bookstores and are used in courses on spirituality.

Madame Guyon was included in the book Women Used of God by Ed Reese. The Joyful Woman magazine ran a half-page ad for the book in the September-October 1994 issue. The book contains brief biographies of 50 “Women Leaders of the Christian Cause” and is described as “Ideal for young people (especially girls) looking for role models.” In addition to Guyon, these “role models” include radical Pentecostal female preachers Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson.

THE ERRORS OF MADAME GUYON

There are some correct and helpful insights in Madame Guyon’s writings, but taken as a whole they are unscriptural and dangerous. Following are some of the errors:

1. SHE EMPHASIZED THE SURRENDER OF HERSELF TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WITHOUT RESERVATION.

Madam Guyon spoke of her goal as “perfect obedience to the will of the Lord, submission to the church” (Guyon, Autobiography). She was referring, of course, to the Catholic Church.

2. SHE FOCUSED ON HAVING AN EXPERIENCE OF GOD RATHER THAN KNOWING HIM BY FAITH THROUGH THE BIBLE.

This is the essence of mysticism. To the contrary, though, the Lord Jesus exalted faith over sight and experience (Jn. 20:29). Paul said “we walk by faith not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). And faith only comes from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). It does not come from within or from experiences. Madame Guyon was not Bible centered in her Christian walk, and that is a grave and fatal error.

 

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This is one of the most important series I have ever read. Please carefully read all this information. Spiritual deception is at an all time high.

Quantum Mysticism Goes to Market

COSMS, CODES, AND CRYPTOLOGIES,   Conclusion

The Discernment Research Group published this article series because we are deeply concerned that good saints have been captivated by these fanciful storytellers with their dramatic imagery. Some have told us that they can “handle” this sort of imaginative mixture. Maybe they can. But sadly, there are many new or fragile believers who could easily become lured into the occult world through exposure to these quantum teachings. This is unconscionable!
 
This article series was a massive project of the Discernment Research Group that took a year and a half to complete. [See Editor’s Note at the end.]  In keeping with our mission, we focused primarily on the biblical truth versus the error. However, there are many other side issues that came up during our research that left us with lingering, disturbing questions about the quantum collaborators’ connections, activities and associations.[6]
 
Our heartfelt desire is to urge our friends and fellow discerners, researchers and readers, to please consider the evidence presented in this extensive 9-part series and weigh it in the light of Scripture. We plead with you to consider the admonition of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:4, when speaking of His imminent return: Take heed that no man deceive you.”
 
Read HERE
 

“EVANGELICAL” BELIEVES IN BREATHING GOD

From  – www.wayoflife.org

Leonard Sweet, a very influential “evangelical,” believes you can breath God in your nostrils. In his 2012 book I Am A Follower, Sweet quotes Sufi poet Kabir who says, “God is the breath inside the breath.” Sweet then makes the following blasphemous, pagan comment: “All of creation is made alive with the holy breath of the Creator. Breathing Yahweh breath is breathing the holy breath of life. Yahweh. … Our breathing and heartbeat are in tune with the name. Breathe in ‘Yah’ and breathe out ‘weh’ … I guarantee you will relax.”

This heresy is the product of contemplative prayer, which Sweet is recommending in this passage. Sweet is the author and co-author of more than 30 books. He was twice voted “one of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport magazine. Rick Warren recommends Sweet’s book Soul Tsunami (his recommendation is printed on the cover). Warren and Sweet collaborated on an audio set entitled Tides of Change, and Sweet spoke at Saddleback Church in January 2008 for a small groups training conference. Sweet has spoken at Bill Hybels’ Willowcreek Community Church. Sweet’s book Jesus Manifesto (co-authored by Frank Viola) was recommended by Southern Baptist Ed Stetzer, who has spoken at Southwide Baptist Fellowship and Trinity Baptist College, Jacksonville, Florida.

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Who else is in this group?  Other emergent newagelicals are Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Eckhart Tolle, Oprah Winfrey, just for starters. Many got their start in theology of mysticism by reading and studying Jurgen Moltmann and Ken Wilbur.

Once I was prescribed Celexa to help me through my weepy period of menopause. Looking back I wish I had just relied on God to get me through this emotional roller-coaster ride. Instead, the drug opened my mind up to the paranormal world with visions and “words.”  In essense I become a channeler. Being a Christian, I thought God was using me in a special way by the guidance I thought I was receiving. Instead I was listening to the enemy.

Today it is easy to come across those who say they are receiving visions and words from the Lord on a daily basis. I was there once and it is very seducing, but it is usually deception.

Deception by divination will usually lead to pride and paranoid delusion. Because of the nature of the evil one, and the grace of God, warning signs will come. If unheeded, this road leads to destruction.

Coming back to biblical teachings involved throwing myself on the mercy of God for my pride and rebellion.  I had to pray that all abilities not from God  be completely removed. And they were!

Here is an interesting comment from Bob Dewaay:

Divination is forbidden not because it does not work, but because it does. It works to put people in touch with spiritual forces and secret knowledge. … The evil spirits who dispense this information intend to keep people from coming to God through Messiah. They also seek to deceive Christians into thinking that what has been provided through Christ is insufficient. They are very good at what they do.

SOURCE

Prescribed psychotropic drugs  are not the only danger. This is only one way that a person can open themselves to deception. There are many ways. There is the impartation of false anointings, drugs, alcohol, eastern meditation, repetition of word, hypnosis, visualization (very occult) , and the seduction of today’s hypnotic music. The church is being bombarded with all these deceptions and spiritual influences and they must be rejected instead of being accepted.

Please also be warned that the terms paranormal and metaphysical both mean….occult.

Okay now for the feature article:

How should a Christian respond to evidence of paranormal activity?”

Answer: The word paranormal can be defined as “the occurrence, or perception of, an event without scientific explanation, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.” Paranormal activity is an encompassing term that includes not only ghosts and hauntings and demonic activity, but also includes other unexplainable phenomena such as unidentified flying objects (UFOs), and extrasensory perception (ESP), to name just a few. With the proliferation of movies and television shows that in one way or another sensationalize paranormal activity, it is clear that many are indeed fascinated with this realm. In fact, a 2007 low-budget movie titled Paranormal Activity went on to become one of the most profitable movies of all time. How then, should Christians respond when we read about supposed hauntings and other paranormal occurrences?

A common misconception is that disembodied spirits can remain on earth or perhaps come back to “haunt” or otherwise interact with us. However, nothing in the Bible supports this belief. Rather, “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). But the Bible does make it clear that there are spirit beings—angels and demons—which operate in the heavenly realm. The angels serve God. They are ministering spirits who are sent by God “to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Demons, on the other hand, are fallen angels under the control of Satan, and they roam the earth looking to destroy God’s children (1 Peter 5:8). They are cunning and wise and keenly aware of our weaknesses and our propensity to desire that which will satisfy our fleshly desires. Worst of all, they can masquerade as “angels of light” or as “servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Regarding the immensity of Satan’s earthly “operation,” the apostle John reminds us that the “whole world” is under his control (1 John 5:19).

Now, some of the paranormal activity we read about today could very well be hoaxes perpetuated on a public that is all too eager to believe. In some cases, well-meaning people could be innocently mistaken as to what they think they might have seen or experienced. There is probably a logical explanation for much of what gets passed off as “paranormal activity.” However, if there is genuine evil spiritual activity occurring, it would have to be the work of demons. Either way, however, when Christians read or hear of such activity we should not be intrigued by it or drawn to it; rather we should use it as a solid reminder of the spiritual battle that is the Christian life and the one against whom we struggle. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood,” but, rather it is against the “powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 emphasis added).

Many people are no doubt intrigued by tales of ghosts and hauntings. Yet, if getting angry can give the devil a “foothold” into our lives (Ephesians 4:27), how much more so would a fascination with the “dark forces” of this world that he controls? Jesus Christ came to earth to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8), and it took His death to accomplish it. Our response to paranormal activity, at least as it pertains to any sort of demonic activity, is to be reminded of the evil which ultimately led to our Savior’s great sacrifice. Beyond that, Christians should avoid any and all contact with the paranormal.

http://www.gotquestions.org/paranormal-activity.html

*note *

I selected the photo because this is what I saw in a dream when I denounced and rejected what I was receiving. Satan was exposed and he left and so did the oppression.

                        candlecross

 

How to Know When the Emerging Church

Shows Signs of Emerging in Your Church

Commentary by Roger Oakland

http://understandthetimes.org/

The world is changing. So is the Christian evangelical church. There was a time— not that long ago—when the Bible was considered to be the Word of God by the majority of evangelical Christians. Now that we are well into the third millennium and the post-modern, post-Christian era, the term evangelical can mean almost anything. What has happened? Why is this happening and what is the future for mainstream Christianity?

For the past several years, I have been speaking around the world on current trends that are impacting Christianity. After these presentations, I am approached by Christians who come from many different church backgrounds. Many are expressing their concerns about what is happening in their churches, troubled by the new direction they see their church going. While they may not always be able to discern what is wrong, they know something is wrong and that it needs to be addressed.

Further, many have told me they have attempted to express their concerns with their pastors or church elders. In almost every case, they were told they had a choice to make—get with the new program or get out of the church.

This move towards a reinvented Christianity (one designed to “reach people”) seems to be here for the long haul. It is not just a passing fad. I am often asked by concerned brothers and sisters in Christ to provide an explanation in order to help them understand what they have encountered. They want to know why these changes are underway and what to expect in the future. As well, they want to know what, if anything can be done, to stem this tide. It is for this reason I am writing this commentary—to provide biblical insight regarding the Emerging Church and where it is heading in the future.

The Gospel According to the Scriptures

Throughout church history, various trends have come and gone. While culture changes from place to place, biblical Christianity has always been based upon the central message of the Bible which is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message never changes.

This gospel message is about who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done. A child can understand the gospel message. This message proclaims that life here on planet earth is finite and that life after death is eternal. The good news is that we can be saved from our sins if we will repent and simply ask for forgiveness and follow Him.

How we respond to the gospel message during the time we have on earth determines where we spend eternity—heaven or hell. Jesus, the Creator of the universe, provided a way and the only way we can spend eternity with Him. It is a matter of making a personal decision whether or not we will accept the plan He has provided.

God’s adversary does not want mankind to understand the simple message. His plan is to deceive the world. If he can blind people from the gospel or convince them that they believe the gospel when indeed they do not, his plan has been successful. Throughout the ages, countless billions have been duped, either rejecting the truth, or believing that they had believed the truth when instead they had been deceived.

The Gospel According to Postmoderism

Times change! However, the gospel must remain the same no matter what else changes. We are now living in the postmodern era. In a sincere attempt to reach the postmodern generation with the gospel, it seems many Christians have become postmodern in their thinking.

Perhaps the term postmodern is new to you. Let’s examine what it means.

First, the modern era was characterized by a time of rational thinking based on factual observation. Many claim the modern era ended in the mid 1900s.

The postmodern mindset moves beyond the rational and the factual to the experiential and the mystical. In other words, in the past it was possible to know right from wrong and black from white. In the postmodern era all things are relative to the beholder. What may be right for you may be wrong for someone else. There is no such thing as absolute truth. The only thing that is absolute is that there is no absolute.

We now live in a time in history that is characterized as postmodern. Professors at universities teach students there is no right or wrong. All things are relative. The gospel message to the postmodern mindset is far too dogmatic and arrogant. They say it is necessary to find a more moderate gospel that can be accepted by the masses.

Many church leaders are now looking for ways to reach the postmodern generation. They believe they can find the appropriate methods to do so without changing the message. However, in their attempt to reach this postmodern generation, they have become postmodern themselves and have changed the message. As the gospel is fixed upon the Scriptures, the gospel cannot change, unless of course it becomes another gospel. I believe this is what is happening in the Emerging Church.

He Didn’t Come

Many have noticed that since the turn of the millennium, their churches have changed positions on Bible prophecy and the Second Coming of Jesus. Many have given up on the return of Jesus. From the ‘60s on there was an excitement about the imminent return of Jesus. The Jesus People were excited about Bible prophecy and could see signs that Jesus would descend from the heavens for His Bride at any moment.

The year 2000 was of particular importance. When Jesus didn’t show up, it seems many were apparently disappointed. “Perhaps Jesus has delayed His coming,” some have said. Others are even taking the position that He may not be coming at all, at least not in the manner we have been taught. They are now convinced that we need to be busy about “building His Kingdom” here on earth by “whatever human effort is required.”

The Gospel of the Kingdom

One of the main indicators that something has changed can be seen in the way the future is perceived. Rather than urgently proclaiming the gospel according to the Scriptures and believing the time to do so is short, the emphasis has now shifted. No longer are “signs of the times” significant. The battle cry is very different. A major emphasis among evangelicals is the idea that the world can be radically improved through social programs.

This concept, while on the surface may sound very good, has some serious biblical implications. According to the Scriptures, there will be no kingdom of God until the King arrives. All the human effort man can muster up will fall short of bringing utopia. In fact, according to the Scriptures, fallen man will lead us further down the road to a society of despair and lawlessness just like it was in the days of Noah.

Thus, this purpose-driven view of establishing global utopia may be a plan, but it is “driven” by humanistic reasoning and not led by the Holy Spirit. While it is of course good to do good unto others, all the goodness that we can do will not be good enough. Pastors and church leaders who get involved in such man-driven programs can usually be identified by certain characteristics:

Sound biblical doctrine is dangerous and divisive, and the experiential (i.e.,mystical) is given a greater role than doctrine.

Bible prophecy is no longer taught and is considered a waste of time

Israel becomes less and less important and has no biblical significance

Eventually the promises for Israel are applied to the church and not Israel (Replacement Theology).

Bible study is replaced by studying someone’s book and his methods

Church health is evaluated on the quantity of people who attend.

The truth of God’s Word becomes less and less important

God’s Word, especially concepts like hell, sin and repentance, is eventually downplayed so the unbeliever is not offended.

Spiritual Formation and Transformation

Much of what I have described provides the formula for a dumbing-down of Christianity that paves the way for an apostasy that will only intensify in the future. This trend away from the authority of God’s Word to the reinvented form of Christianity has overcome all evangelical denominations like an avalanche. Few Bible teachers saw this avalanche coming. Now that it is underway, few realize it has even happened.

However, there is another big piece to the puzzle that must be identified in order to understand what is emerging in the Emerging Church. While biblical Christianity has been dumbed-down and the light of God’s Word diminished, another avalanche of deception is underway that is equally devastating.

This is best described by the Word of God giving way to experiences that God’s Word forbids. The best way to understand this process is to recall what happened during the Dark Ages when the Bible became the “forbidden book.” Until the Reformers translated the Bible into the language of the common person, the people were in darkness. When the light of God’s Word became available, the gospel according to the Scriptures was once again understood.

This trend, which is underway today, shows us that history is in the process of repeating itself. As the Word of God becomes less and less important, the rise of mystical experiences is alarming and these experiences are being presented to convince the unsuspecting that Christianity is about feeling, touching, smelling and seeing God. The postmodern mindset is the perfect environment for the fostering of what is called “spiritual formation.” This teaching suggests there are various ways and means to get closer to God. Proponents of spiritual formation erroneously teach that anyone can practice these mystical rituals and find God within. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a prerequisite.

These teachings, while actually rooted in ancient wisdom (the occult), were presented to Christendom post-New Testament and not found in the Word of God. The spiritual formation movement is based upon experiences promoted by desert monks and Roman Catholic mystics – these mystics encouraged the use of rituals and practices, that if performed would bring the practitioner closer to God (or come into God’s presence). The premise was that if one went into the silence or sacred space, then the mind was emptied of distractions and the voice of God could be heard. In truth, these hypnotic, mantric style practices were leading these monks into altered states of consciousness. The methods they used are the same that Buddhists and the Hindus use as a means of encountering the spiritual realm

Such methods are dangerous, and are not sanctioned in the Bible – God gives no instruction for this. On the contrary, he warns severely against divination, which is practicing a ritual or method in order to obtain information from a spiritual source. While proponents of spiritual formation (like Richard Foster) say these methods show that the Holy Spirit is doing something new to refresh Christianity, I would suggest that what is happening is not new and is not the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual formation movement is being widely promoted at colleges and seminaries as the latest and the greatest way to become a spiritual leader in these days. These ideas are then being exported from seminaries to churches by graduates who have been primed to take Christianity to a new level of enlightenment.

As well, these contemplative practices are being promoted by emergent leaders such as Brian McLaren, Robert Webber, Dallas Willard and others. Publishers like NavPress, InterVarsity and Zondervan are flooding the market with books promoting contemplative practices based on Eastern mysticism. Pastors and church leaders read these books and then promote the ideas as if they were the scriptural answer to drawing close to God.

Signs the Emerging Church is Emerging

There are specific warning signs that are symptomatic that a church may be headed down the emergent/contemplative road. In some cases a pastor may not be aware that he is on this road nor understand where the road ends up.

Here are some of the warning signs:

Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.

The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.

More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.

The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.

The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.

The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past

An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.

Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.

The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.

While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.

These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.

There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.

Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.

What does the Future Hold?

If the Emerging Church continues unfolding at the present pace, mainstream evangelical Christianity will be reinvented and the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures will be considered too narrow and too restrictive. In other words, the narrow way to heaven that Jesus proclaimed will eventually be abandoned for a wider way that embraces pagan experiential practices. I call this reinvented, re-imagined form of Christianity that is unfolding—“Christian Babylonianism”.

This new form of Christianity will replace biblical faith with a faith that says man can establish the kingdom of God here on earth. The Word will continue to become secondary to a system of works driven by experiences.

An ecumenical pattern towards unity with Rome will become more apparent. Those who refuse to embrace this direction will be considered spiritual oddballs that need to be reprimanded. Those who stand up for biblical faith will be considered the obstructions to the one world spirituality that is promoted as the answer for peace.

The best way to be prepared for what is coming is to gain an understanding of what is happening now. While there are not many who seem to discern the trend underway, there are some. Without the Bible and the Holy Spirit as our guide, the darkness that is coming would be overwhelming. However, the light of God’s Word penetrates the darkness and there are those who are being delivered from deception and see what is taking place.

I am convinced we are seeing apostasy underway, exactly as the Scriptures have forewarned. This means that this current trend is not likely to disappear. We must continue to proclaim the truth in the midst of deception with love. As Paul instructed Timothy:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2: 24-26).

There are still pastors and churches who are dedicated to proclaiming the truth. Find out where they are and support them. If you are in a location where this does not seem to be possible, seek out materials that are available from solid Bible-based Christian ministries and hold Bible studies in your own home.

And keep looking up! Jesus is coming soon.

 

This was taken from the International House of Prayer’s website.

*****

4/18/11 update 

I see that the link below has been broken and that IHOP has pulled this information from their site. If another link can be found I will post it.  Please know that this was copied word for word from their site.

*****

Contemplative Prayer—–Communing with the Holy Spirit who lives within you

I. Know He Lives Inside of You
II. Pray the Scripture

The goal is to search for the Spirit of Jesus in the Word and have depth, not necessarily length, in understanding the passage. Jesus is the Word (John 1) and we want to know Him, the Truth. In Him is life; it is His Spirit who gives life. The words of Scripture are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). The entrance of the Word gives light and life (Psalm 119:130). As the Word of God enters your heart, the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

Make sure you are searching for the Spirit of Jesus, not just searching for knowledge. Just pray the Scriptures. In simple terms, prayer is turning your heart toward God. In John 5:39, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You do not have His Word abiding in you … you search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Method #1

Choose a short phrase in Scripture.

Begin slowly praying the Scripture in silence.

Focus your prayer toward the Spirit who lives inside you (John 7:38).

Remain on the phrase as long as you feel the Lord’s presence on it. Then move with Him, slowly praying through the passage phrase by phrase.

Method #2

Choose a short story in Scripture.

Read through the story several times silently.

Close your eyes and acknowledge the Spirit who lives in you.

Use your imagination to imagine yourself as one of the story characters or as an onlooker.

Play out the story in your mind applying all five of your senses.

Method #3

We call this “Beholding the Spirit Within.”

The goal is to search for and feel God’s presence inside you, not necessarily to gain more understanding in God’s Word as with the first two methods.

Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit. The Scripture is used to quiet the clamoring of your soul and draw you to God. It is the connection point, the springboard into the spiritual realm.

Once you feel God’s presence, focus on it in a concentrated way.

You will be able to notice His presence now; He has always been there, but now your attention is on Him within you. The outward senses are quiet and your surface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit.

In this time, feel the freedom to stay quiet. Silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision, or slowly and silently say to Him, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”

Overcoming Distractions

 

Your mind will have to be trained in practical ways to not wander and think on other things. To overcome a wandering mind, simply begin thinking on the Scripture you have been meditating on, and focus your prayer to the Spirit within you. The Lord sees your heart as it searches for Him, and He is smiling upon you. You may become sleepy during prayer. To overcome, sit up straight instead of slouching and do not lie down. You can also begin speaking the Scripture you are meditating on under your breath until you feel the drowsiness subside, then return to the silent prayer.

Diligence in Prayer

In time these methods of praying will become easy. You will find the Spirit who lives in you if you search for Him with all your heart, but it will require time and your whole heart.

Keys to Progress

 

Humility-the high and lofty One dwells with the lowly in heart (Isaiah 57)

Disciplined life of prayer, fasting, giving and loving your enemies (Matthew 6)

Total abandonment in love to Jesus and loving nothing of this life (Matthew 7:14)

http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?id=1000000385


                                                       The New Age and Christianity


“Occultism has always involved
three techniques for changing and creating reality:
thinking, speaking, and visualizing.”

(Dave Hunt – Occult Invasion)
* * * *

“…imaging and visualization are increasingly appearing as Christian meditation, “mind-stretchers,” or a consciousness-awakening experience in Christian workshops, and you’d better believe that visualization as a cultivated exercise comes with all sorts of metaphysical and spiritual baggage in tow.”
Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott

****

“It’s not difficult to trace the practice of meditative imaging and visualization back to the mystics.” Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott
                                                                 ****
 Jon Trott is correct here. If anyone has started to indulge themselves  into meditative practices, just ask them what books they are reading.  

Christians are being duped into mysticism because a sentence has the word Jesus in it or there is a phrase of scripture.

The well-known catholic mystics are Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, and Matthew Fox. If these authors are in your library then you know that you are entering a mystical realm that will only draw you AWAY from Jesus Christ. They want you to focus on a centering prayer which will invite a feeling of divinity within yourself. This is the lie, that you are divine. You may not think that this is where they are leading you, but this is what Eve thought when the serpent suggested, that “You will be like God.”  Watch out for the new charismatic coined term of DNA which actually means “Divine Nature Activated”

Contemplative prayer sounds so biblical, but it is a dangerous occult method of contacting the spirit world, which is off-limits to the Christian. Visualization is a technique that speeds up the process of reaching into another dimension to either experience visions or transport oneself.

Christian beware, the wolves are telling you that you are divine and holy.  What does the Bible say?

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”

So why should we center ourselves on our own heart looking for our divinity? We shouldn’t.

Instead…..we can have righteousness through faith….

Romans 3:21

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known to which the Law, and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

These phrases from the IHOP article bother me.

“Make sure you are searching for the spirit of Jesus.”

Jesus wasn’t and is not a spirit. He came to earth as fully man and fully God, but He never came as a spirit.  But those who meditate using TM methods often contact a spirit guide named “Jesus”. This is deceiving spirit because Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father.

“Play out the story…apply all five senses”

This is an exercise in guided imagery. Read what Dave Hunt says about this:

“Visualization and Guided Imagery have long been recognized by sorcerers of all kinds as the most powerful and effective methodology for contacting the spirit world in order to acquire supernatural power, knowledge and healing. Such methods are neither taught or practiced in the Bible as helps to faith or prayer.” (The Seduction of Christianity)

Yet here we see it openly being taught and embraced.

“Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit.”

How can you do these two things simultaneously?  Actually the Scripture becomes meaningless as one focuses on something else entirely.

“The springboard into the spiritual realm.”

What is the springboard?…it is the silence, the quiet. They are trying to fool you into thinking it is the scripture, but this is not the case here. The silence is a void used in eastern meditation to stop you from thinking or concentrating.  So now what spiritual realm have you just entered? You have entered a void. It is this void that allows you to enter a spiritual realm that is forbidden in the Bible. This is the realm where the white light enters, and if you know your Bible, then you know that this is Satan. He comes with joy and peace and fills you with ecstasy. If he came any other way he would be instantly rejected.

“Your surface thoughts are gone”.

The Bible never tell us to quit thinking or to empty our minds. In fact we are told the quite the opposite.

1 Peter 5:8

“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.”

“Ask the spirit to show you a vision.”

This is exactly how those involved in TM ask to be shown their demonic spirit guides. Exactly. This is so dangerous……

The section describing how to overcome distractions is the same method chanters use when meditating. If they actually have…a thought…oh no…start the chant again to empty the mind.

Anyone who does not see the eastern mysticism in this occult prayer method…does not want to see. Even a cursory study of meditation easily shows the parallels but people aren’t listening, or they don’t care, or maybe they hate to admit they have been deceived. This pride is fateful. It is eternal. It keeps you in touch with the New-Age Jesus, (who does not exist) and separates you from the true Jesus Christ in the Bible.

“It is not an advanced spiritual state, but one that is primitive and regressive, and consequentially results in bondage to spiritistic powers.” ( Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs) Ankerberg and Weldon  pg. 238

How is it that the church has fallen into such a sad state of affairs? It is simple. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not being preached anymore. Without repentance, without turning away from sin, without faith, there is no conversion.

The unconverted are hungry for God because they have no way to be sanctified. So in order to hear from God, in order to fill the void, they need to resort to false fire. Gnostic strange fire. This spiritual false fire replaces a true move of God which would cause conviction and make us fall on our faces and weep. We would weep because when the holiness of God shines His light on our sin, magnifying our true nature, it is unbearable. This in turn causes us to hate our sin, and search the Word for how live a holy life pleasing to the Lord.

When the Word of God is not enough, when it is not sufficient, the alternative is deception.

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