Be Very Alert! No 216

Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard (NZ)

On Watch at the Door.                                                     No 216, April 26, 2016

ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM SPIRITUAL DRYNESS?

Recently my home town hosted a “Soul Safari Festival.” It ran from the Friday afternoon until the Sunday evening. On offer was an incredible array of occultic practices including Kundalini yoga and numerous other sessions on various sorts of yoga, tantric belly dancing, chanting/singing mantra music meditation, several breath classes, hot stones, the lake of inner tranquillity, and much more, and if you haven’t met your spiritual guides (demons) by then, an opportunity to do so. The final session was a purifying and transforming fire ceremony with chanting of ancient vedic mantras. It is rather sad to think of the spiritual state of these people after all this. No longer spiritually dry, but what spirit?

But what is sadder is the destructive outcome of similar practices in the church where occultic practices are given Christian terminology. “Christian” yoga is practised by many Christians in the mistaken belief that they can draw nearer to God in this way and escape a spiritual dryness. The yoga exercises are usually accompanied by breathing techniques and relaxation exercises. According to the Concise Dictionary of the Occult and the New Age, certain postures such as the lotus position are taken to activate the psychic energy centres (the chakras) and breathing exercises are practised to infuse the soul with cosmic energy floating in the air. Yoga is not simply a means of obtaining good health. The goal is to reach a state of oneness with the “cosmic consciousness.”

Much has been written about the dangers of yoga and meditation and even medical doctors are now testifying to these dangers. Many who have done yoga simply for physical exercise have become spiritually affected and taken over by demonic forces. There is no such thing as a “neutral” yoga.

Another of these so-called “Christian” practices is contemplative prayer. This form of prayer has entered the church mainly through Spiritual Formation programs which now abound in Christian colleges. Through these programs people expect to develop a deeper relationship with the God of the Bible.

Roger Oakland writes: “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.” By carrying out certain practices, Spiritual Formation becomes a works-based attempt to substitute for biblical Christianity.

Contemplative prayer has its roots in Eastern mysticism and was practised by the Desert Fathers, monks who lived around the third century. They were the first to promote the mantra as a prayer tool. They believed that as long as the desire for God was sincere, anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus.

Going down the Spiritual Formation road inevitably leads one to spiritual exercises. The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Catholic Jesuit Order, have been adapted by Protestants as forms of contemplative prayer.

John Lanagan writes, “The silence of contemplative prayer is rich ground for false visions, the voice of lying “christs,” and supernatural esoteric experiences.” One can come into contact with familiar spirits in this way. The apostle Paul instructs Timothy, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1 Tim 4:1)

There is no mention of yoga or contemplative prayer in the Word of God. They are taken from pagan practices in the belief that they can be used to reach the Christian God. Some have tried to teach “good” Spiritual Formation, but the books they use eventually lead people to non-biblical practices.

Christians can get caught up in non-scriptural practises in many ways. There is a tendency to follow a person rather than the Bible. Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer both starred in the extremely popular movie War Room. If fans of theirs are attracted to their web sites they will find contemplative prayer promoted. Shirer refers to contemplative prayer as her “brand new way” and Moore says it is essential to knowing God. They both took part in the film Be Still. John Lanagan says, “If there is one main message in the Be Still DVD, it is: you cannot really know God if you do not practice the art of going into contemplative prayer.”

So what can you do if you are going through a patch of “spiritual dryness?” The very first thing is to make sure that you are really born again and have God’s Holy Spirit in you. We are saved by grace through faith in what Jesus achieved for us through His death on the cross and Resurrection. Believers are given the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. We are transformed and guided by the Holy Spirit in us.

Just as we do not need an earthly priest to come between us and God, we do not need a Spiritual Formation Director to come between us and God. The Holy Spirit is our director and guides our life.

Contemplative prayer and yoga are works religion: trying to reach God by religious practices taken from other religions which can be very dangerous, not to mention how much God hates them. We are to draw near to God in the way He prescribes in His Word.

Remember that if you are feeling spiritually dry and God far away, God hasn’t moved! Check whether you have moved! Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) In Romans 12:1-2 the apostle Paul stresses the importance of submitting yourself to God. We must make sure we hand over every part of ourselves to God for His use, not just some parts. We can submit our heart, mind, will, plans, thoughts, deeds, emotions, health, body, assets, finances and relationships with people. Everything! Are there parts of your life you haven’t submitted to God? In Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told to trust in God and acknowledge Him in all our ways, not just some of them, and He will make our paths straight.

Are you hanging on to things that you wish God didn’t know about? A habitual sin can place a block between you and God. Ask God to show you any and repent.

If you have checked out all the above and are still feeling a spiritual dryness, don’t panic! God treats people in different ways. Continue with what we are instructed to do in Scripture: prayer with much praise and thanksgiving, Bible Study and fully submitting your life to God. He will in His own time lead you to where He wants you. You may be going through a time of testing.

It is because people are turning away from Bible study, prayer and fully submitting their whole lives to God that many Christians are feeling dry and spiritually empty and end up seeking non-biblical means to go “deeper.” In this manner, they are handing over their souls to the devil. Dear people, it is not worth it! Stay with the teachings in God’s Holy Word and don’t follow pagan practices!

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. (Psalm 19:7)

FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD TO ROME

A huge false church is rapidly developing with the Catholic Church in the centre. New Apostolic Reformation false prophet Lou Engle of The Call organised an event in Los Angeles called Azusa Now which was attended by over 100,000 people. Roman Catholics were also invited to attend. Roman Catholic leader Matteo Calisi told the audience that division between Christians and Catholics is a “diabolical sin,” and that Jesus “doesn’t care” that Christians and Catholics disagree on biblical doctrine. Calisi prostrated himself at Lou Engle’s feet declaring that he wanted to kiss his feet in an act of reconciliation between Christians and Catholics. Engle returned the act by kissing his shoe. Calisi founded United in Christ, an organization that strives for ecumenism between Christians and Catholics. The event also included the pagan costumes and dancing and drums of Native Americans on the platform. False prophet and teacher Bill Johnson of Bethel Church was also on the platform. Bethel partnered with The Call to commemorate this 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street outpouring. The Azusa Now organisers were believing for a fresh outpouring of signs, wonders and miracles.

Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” (2 Cor 6:14-18)

IN BRIEF

The reproduction of the Arch from the Temple of Baal seems to have changed its name to the Arch of Triumph. It has been erected in Trafalgar Square and will be transported to other centres before finally being erected back at Palmyra in Syria. The project used state of the art 3D technology to map the arch’s dimensions from thousands of images before master craftsmen carved the 20ft replica from Egyptian marble. ISIS terrorists destroyed the original last year.

A poll by LifeWay Research shows that in just two years the number of Americans who think Christians are facing growing intolerance in the US has drastically increased. Sixty-three percent said they agree or strongly agree, up from 50 percent in 2013. Those who “strongly agree” went up from 28 to 38 percent.

In the US, Carolina has passed a new state law that prohibits biological males from using women’s locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms. This has resulted in outrage from the gay and transgender community. Rocker Bruce Springsteen has cancelled a concert there because he opposes the new law. As well, a bipartisan group of senators is seeking to pull the NBA league’s 2017 All-Star game from North Carolina as they say the law discriminates against gay and transgender people by not allowing them to use the bathroom of their choice. PayPal too also decided not to open a new centre there because of the law.

A Christian student expelled from England’s Sheffield University because he quoted the Bible’s stance on homosexuality in a Facebook post supportive of controversial Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has lost his appeal.

The Brighton and Hove City Council wrote to thousands of parents asking them to say what kids as young as four choose as the gender they most identify with before starting school. Angry parents have blasted the council. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen described the letter as “utterly ridiculous”. He added: “Schools should be teaching kids to read and write, not prompting them to consider gender swaps.”

In 2014 an image of suffragette Kate Sheppard appeared at traffic intersections around parliament instead of the “little green man.” Now transgender Carmen Rupe has been given the green light and will light up intersections along her old haunt, Cuba St. Carmen was a colourful transgender identity and gay rights advocate who died in 2011. A former stripper and prostitute, she was more familiar with red lights, but it will now be green lights for her.

Many thanks to all who prayed about the High Court case regarding Religious Instruction in schools that was scheduled for 26th April. The cases against both Red Beach School and the Attorney General have been thrown out. The Plaintiff failed to make his submissions within the court timetabling deadlines. It is unclear at this point whether the decision will be appealed or what the next steps will be.

EXTRA ITEMS:

For anyone interested in Christian History you might find David Guzik’s talks interesting, especially with all the attempts to undo the Reformation now.
Yoga and Christianity. Are they compatible? Lighthouse Trails
Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation?

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